Ministers urged to cast a lifeline after fish kill
By MARY MANN firstname.lastname@example.org LOCAL commercial fishers and the NSW Business Chamber are calling for the State ministers of agriculture and fisheries, primary industries and tourism to visit Ballina in the wake of the recent fish kill.
They say the ministers – Tony Burke, Ian Macdonald and Matthew Brown – need to see first-hand the impact the fish kill has had on the district.
They are also calling for fishers to be classed as primary producers instead of harvesters, so they become eligible for more financial assistance from the Government.
Garry Joblin, chairman of the Ballina Fishermen’s Co-op, said it was vital the ministers made an appearance.
“We want them to hear our problems and to try and get them fixed so we don’t have this happening again,” he said.
Sharon Cadwallader, regional manager of the NSW Business Chamber, said it was vital the three ministers worked closely with local fishers, farmers and tourism operators.
“They need to see for themselves the anguish on the faces of the fishers and their families, who have been left without an income since the river was closed,” she said.
The Richmond and Wilsons rivers were closed on January 18 to all forms of fishing after the fish kill almost a month ago.
Since then, the 12 commercial fishers who get their catch from the Richmond have been out of work.
They will start a river monitoring program with the NSW Department of Primary Industries next week.