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Recreational Fishing Licences - Let off the Hook

Call me a pessimist, but given the publicly perceived nature of government politics, that makes me a realist. One wonders whether this commitment, by our new government in not introducing a fishing levy will stand, and if so, for how long.

As per the attached article on the left, the Fisheries Minister, Paul Holloway, wishes to neither confirm or deny the introduction of such a levy in the future.

I don't believe that politicians are entitled to, or should be given the luxury of refusing to properly answer a perfectly reasonable and valid question, given the fact they are elected to serve us and not to play their political games.

If ministers believe they are given a mandate to govern without accountability and addressing genuine public concerns and questions without sound and proper responses, then the ministerial life expectancy of a politician is normally deemed a short one.

Secondly, the minister's refusal to comment openly and to be forthcoming puts all recreational anglers in the position of wondering when and not if Fishing Licenses will be introduced into South Australia, in the future.

The ideology behind Parliamentary Privilege, where verbal abuse, accusations and defamatory statements can be made against anyone, whether they be political foes or the general public, without fear of legal reprisals is a disturbing one.

Politicians are, in essence, elected to serve us, not the other way around. So the issue of taking their word as gospel is an extremely difficult concept to fathom.

The minister's illuminating response, or lack thereof, also assumes that we, the general public, do trust what our elected politicians have to say in the first place, and believe that politicians honour their own words, statements and commitments. We can only dream !

Given the supposedly current budgetary black holes left over as a legacy by the Liberals, one might perceive such an introduction of a fishing license as simply a tax to balance the State's books, and that the minister is softening us up for the final blow further on down the track.

Sth Australians, and Australians for that matter, have always enjoyed the freedom of fishing our pristine and clean SA ocean waters. Fishing is definitely not something we take for granted, but something to look forward to and enjoy.

I believe something is desperately needed to address the problems that this state is currently experiencing in its river systems and fish stocks. Personally, and even given my negative thoughts above about politicians, I do support an introduction of a Fishing License,

but only under the following provisions ..........

  • Assurances given by government that all monies collected flow back into recreational fishing management.

  • ALL revenue collected to be funnelled back into Recreational Fishing and not into a Generic Government Purse.

  • Revenue invested into a Trust Fund, so as to warrant or guarantee its expenditure towards Recreational Fishing (Trust factor with politicians).

  • Politicians to fully disclose, on a yearly basis, financial statements and revenue expenditure from fishing levy collections - keep the bastards honest !!

    • I don't particular relish the idea of revenue collected being put to use by paying Public Servant's Salaries, the exorbitant costs for Consultants, and bonus salary packages for Government Executive Fat Cats !

  • Identify penalties for infringements.

  • Identify Point of Sale (POS) for recreational fishing licenses.

  • Introduce a reduced fee for the elderly and minors.

  • Actively pursue a buy-back scheme for commercial fishing licenses.

    • This is a MUST. Too many times have we seen Trawlers blatantly fishing our favoured recreational spots, depleting our fish stocks, with no regard for by catches which are normally thrown over board.

  • Address and resolve the Murray Mouth Problem.

  • Formulate and promote fish re-stocking agendas for both fresh and saltwater species.

One word, above all, highlights the theme of the above listed provisions - trust. Too many a times we have seen politicians moonlight as acrobats and do back flips, renege on promises, followed by the standard excuses of crying wolf or pointing the finger elsewhere. Sometimes, one must wonder whether the concepts of accountability and credibility are ever seen, heard or even used in the political arena.

I believe that Premier Mike Wran needs to also work on the general public's perception of politicians, and endeavour to instill a level of justifiable trust from the general public towards its elected representatives, and to promote as well as actively pursue any and all commitments, with honesty and integrity from the government.

The impressions I have obtained on numerous occasions while viewing snippets of televised State Parliamentary Question Time is akin to that of a bunch of school kids arguing over who's first in line at the canteen.

I have on numerous occasions cringed with aversion while watching the behaviour of our elected representatives in parliamentary sittings, thinking about the level of professionalism and attention to important issues that is due but not apparent, and do sometimes wonder what some of our state politicians have to offer towards the good of South Australia.

Hopefully, given the unique situation of our current parliamentary makeup, issues of interest if not importance can be addressed with the amount of attention, constructive debate and professionalism that it requires. Recreational Fishing naturally falls within this category.

Food for thought .......... Why is it, that around election time, both major political parties can suddenly come up with the much needed extra funding to bank roll their election promises ?

Why can't politicians use these monies during their term, when its most needed, rather than using it as a carrot on a stick, and we are all simply the proverbial donkeys !!

I know, I know, ........ as I get older, the more cynical I get. I remember turning 18, able to vote, being excited about the concept of making a difference. Now a days, its a choice of voting for the lesser of two evils, and either way, our taxes still go up based on an equation that positively permutative (Calculus expression) to our base salaries !

Now that I have let the cat out of the bag, and that this topic is an extremely heated one amongst all us recreational anglers, I fully expect if not welcome constructive, fruitful and enlightening discussions about Fishing Licenses in the FSA Forum.

I intend on making PIRSA and the Manager, Recreational Fishing aware of the Forum, this particular topic, as well as its input, and fully encourage your views and comments into the Forum, irrespective of where you may be calling from.

However, when posting comments, please keep in mind of the FSA Forum regulations and usage requirements, that you all have agreed to, when you initially signed on.

Thanks in advance


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