With two days of hearings into salmon farming in Tasmania now completed, the Greens spokesperson for Fisheries, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, provides the following comments.
Senator Whish-Wilson said, “When I instigated this inquiry I said it was needed to shine some light into muddy waters regarding how the industry is regulated, and I believe we have achieved that.
“Without whistle-blowers providing leaked documents we would still be in the dark regarding troubling environmental developments in Macquarie Harbour, and without this inquiry we never would have learned that the state government deliberately lifted a legal cap on salmon production in the same location.
“This inquiry has provided a platform for a range of stakeholders to raise legitimate concerns about the impacts of the industry on ecosystems, communities and other businesses.
“Without this inquiry we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to hear from scientists, business groups, environmental organisations and members of the community about what is really going on in and around our waterways.
“It is pleasing to see how the salmon farming industry is responding to concerns as they are raised and if this inquiry has helped speed up this process then we have already achieved one positive outcome.
“However, the state government’s intransigence over hiding information from the public about serious environmental concerns in Macquarie Harbour has been deplorable, and is a clear signal that things must change.
“Today’s claims by the abalone industry that the state government report released yesterday was “compromised” due to conflict-of-interest – something clearly communicated to the Minister by the Tasmanian Abalone Council, but ignored – highlights the government’s wafer-thin credibility.
“I look forward to working with the committee in the production of a report that I hope will provide constructive recommendations about how to improve environmental regulations, standards and transparency levels, something which all stakeholders can be proud of,” he concluded.
Greens spokesperson for Fisheries, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson