Department of Primary Industries Executive Committee Fishing Representatives
The Hon. JENNIFER GARDINER: My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industries.
The Hon. Michael Costa: What booth were you on?
The Hon. JENNIFER GARDINER: His research is not much good, is it? Is it a fact that there are no fishing representatives with operational experience on the executive committee of the Department of Primary Industries?
The Hon. Michael Egan: Point of order: I cannot hear the question. Could you ask the Minister for Transport Services to keep quiet, and could you also ask the Hon. Jennifer Gardiner to open her mouth?
The PRESIDENT: Order! The Hon. Jennifer Gardiner should speak into the microphone.
The Hon. JENNIFER GARDINER: Is it a fact that there are no fishing representatives with operational experience on the executive committee of the Department of Primary Industries? What action will the Minister take to rectify this situation and appease industry concerns by appointing a representative with appropriate expertise?
The Hon. IAN MACDONALD: I am not quite sure what the honourable member means by this. Is she talking about the board of management? Is she referring to that area in the Department of Primary Industries? We have one former, capable member of New South Wales Fisheries on the executive committee who runs the policy section of the department. We have a large number of people with a fishing background in senior areas of the department. There has been no great change in the structure of the department. We lost Steve Dunn, someone the Opposition was very fond of. He has gone to the Solomon Islands to promote the development of the fishing sector in the Pacific Islands, which is very important. He would do a good job in the Solomon Islands. There has been no real change in the direction of staffing.
The Hon. Melinda Pavey: We should give you a ticket to the Solomon Islands—a one-way ticket.
The Hon. IAN MACDONALD: I would be happy to take a trip to the Solomon Islands at some stage. I am sure we could take a few members of the Opposition. If they are only going to give me a one-way ticket, that shows how effective I have been. They want to get me out of the State. They do not want more Dubbos, that is their problem. I can assure honourable members that I will not take a one-way ticket anywhere. I want more Dubbos for The Nationals. The Hon. Jennifer Gardiner would make a fine spokesperson for fishing in this place. I hope she straightens out one of the Independents, the Hon. Jon Jenkins, who seems to be a little bit unbalanced. I hope she gets us back to a balanced situation. I can assure the honourable member that fisheries interests are very well protected within the Department of Primary Industries.