Labor must apologise to trawler tragedy families

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The LNP has called on Labor's Fisheries Minister to formally apologise for Fisheries Queensland's conduct during the investigation into the loss of the trawlers Diane and Cassandra.

The coroner investigating the loss of eight fishermen's lives has accused the Palaszczuk Labor Government of 'bureaucratic obstruction' during the investigation*.

LNP Shadow Fisheries Minister Tony Perrett said Minister Mark Furner must now apologise to everyone affected by the tragedy.

"It became clear that during the investigation that Fisheries Queensland was being deliberately obstructionist in relation to its operation of vessel monitoring systems (VMS) on commercial fishing boats," Mr Perrett said.

"Fisheries Queensland was caught red-handed in claiming that VMS would be used for safety on commercial fishing boats, but it never activated the feature.

"It is a disgrace that Fisheries Queensland 'sold' VMS to the industry under the pretence that the devices would be used to monitor their vessels and alert authorities in case of emergencies.

"The distrust and animosity between Queensland's commercial fishing industry and the Palaszczuk Labor Government is no secret.

"Minister Furner needs to publicly apologise to the families and to Queensland's commercial fishing industry for this deception and his department's actions during the coroner's investigation.

"Commercial fishers are now questioning whether this culture of cover-up and obstruction is the reason for the recent botched rollout of the latest VMS trackers.

"Queensland's Fisherman's Portal has even declared 'no-confidence in DAF whatsoever in its ability to function as a responsible resource management agency'**.

"Given too the context of recent unscientific regulatory changes that will force hundreds of commercial fishers out of businesses, it is hard to think of a worse time in the relationship between the Queensland Government and the fishing community***.

"The Labor Palaszczuk Government's anti-fishers, anti-regions and anti-jobs agenda is hurting Queensland and needs to be thrown in the bin where it belongs.

"The LNP wants to make it easier for consumers to identify and purchase Queensland seafood through clearer labelling laws, while Labor is in the process of destroying our once proud commercial fishing fleet."

* Coroners report section 40-45 (See attached)

** Fisherman's Portal Media statement (attached)

*** Queensland Seafood Industry Association media statement: https://qsia.com.au/content/uploads/2019/09/MR_QLD-2020_2-Sept-2019.pdf

 
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