New South Wales Fisheries Aerial Surveillance

About this Item
SpeakersGardiner The Hon Jennifer; Obeid The Hon Eddie
BusinessQuestions Without Notice

Page: 13104

    The Hon. JENNIFER GARDINER: My question is to the Minister for Fisheries. The Minister will recall that last Easter he authorised aerial surveillance of inland recreational anglers in operation Alpha, directing 13 teams of Fisheries officers to areas of high fishing activity and that he told the House that he anticipated that more high-profile operations such as operation Alpha will be conducted by New South Wales Fisheries in other peak freshwater fishing times. Have there been any other such aerial surveillance operations since last Easter? If so, when and where? Given that this Easter inland and saltwater anglers require licences, will we see a repeat of last Easter's spy flights? Would such exercises be classified as part of the licence fee's so-called education campaign? From where would the funding for such operations be sourced?

    The Hon. E. M. OBEID: What a mixed-up question. As the House is aware, last year I said that this surveillance was authorised. I am not aware that any other aerial surveillance has occurred since then.

    The Hon. Jennifer Gardiner: Does that mean that you have not done any?

    The Hon. E. M. OBEID: I am not aware of any other aerial surveillance. The honourable member would recall that that was part of the compliance for the freshwater recreational licences. I am sure that the honourable member would not expect that in the vast inland regions officers would be able to access every conceivable fishery in the waterways. What is the problem with air surveillance? We need to locate the fishers so that the ground officers can check on their bag and size limits and carry out the job that they are hired to do. I do not know what concerns the Leader of the Opposition has about their jobs.

    The Hon. Dr B. P. V. Pezzutti: Ask Gareth Evans.

    The Hon. E. M. OBEID: What is the Hon. Dr B. P. V. Pezzutti talking about? I am sure that members of the Opposition are deluded today, they are all over the place. Basically aerial surveillance is important in inland areas, because it is very difficult for officers to access waterways and rivers, especially if they do not know that fishing is occurring there. I do not believe that it is as necessary along the coast. Most of our fishery spots are accessible on the coast and I do not presume there would be any licence aerial surveillance. I am not aware of any aerial surveillance since last Easter. For the benefit of the Hon. Jennifer Gardiner, of course some expenses must be met from income received from recreational licences. Where does she expect the payment to come from? If you want to create recreational fishing spots there will be expenditure. It is only fair that if this sort of compliance is required_

    The Hon. Patricia Forsythe: How come your ministerial office scurried to answer this question?

    The Hon. E. M. OBEID: What is the Hon. Patricia Forsythe saying? Say it out loud so I can hear you. If you want to waste time, I am prepared to accommodate you. I am not aware of any other licence aerial surveillance, nor do I expect any to occur along our coast. As far as expenses are concerned, of course they may be met from income received from recreational fishing licences.