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Agriculture Farming Rural, Environment

Plibersek must now choose: back Tasmanian blue-collar jobs or bow to activist hysteria

Australian Workers' Union 2 mins read

The Australian Workers’ Union is urging Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek to end the uncertainty over the future of salmon in the Macquarie Harbour and make a hard call: back blue-collar jobs or bow to hysterical environmental activists.

A federal review into aquaculture in Macquarie Harbour is currently taking place, after environmental activists claimed it was incompatible with the continued existence of the Maugean skate.

But AWU Assistant National Secretary Kade Wakefield said the activist claims were massively overblown and that modern technology and adaptive management could allow aquaculture and the skate to happily coexist.

“There is no rational, scientific evidence that the salmon industry and the Maugean skate can’t live happily side-by-side in Macquarie Harbour,” Mr Wakefield said.

“Even if it is true that salmon farming has affected skate numbers in the past, the solution lies in ongoing cooperation to manage the harbour using modern technology and techniques. We absolutely do not need to consider the callous and wholesale abolition of hundreds of blue-collar jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars.

“The government has been dragging its heels on this review but at the end of the day Tanya Plibersek will have to decide what she thinks is more important: the livelihoods of blue collar regional Tasmanian families or the overblown concerns of inner-city activists about a fish they’ve decided to make famous.

“It’s funny how inner-city activists are very nuanced when it comes to their own environmental impact through things like air travel. But when it’s just the livelihoods of lowly blue-collar workers on the line, well suddenly they’re very comfortable calling for the most extreme option.

“The Tasmanian salmon industry is world-leading in its environmental monitoring and compliance activities – for instance, in the use of biomass and nitrogen caps. This is a highly technical, responsible and ethical industry that all Tasmanians – and all Australians – should be proud of.

“Our globally famous salmon earns Tasmania over a billion dollars a year. Given the economic situation in this state we can’t allow Canberra to trash our successful successful industries at the whim of environmental activists.

“As the Prime Minister has previously noted in Tasmania, the aquaculture industry and the Maugean skate could coexist. So let’s get that solution on the table so that workers in this community can exhale and get on with their lives.”


Contact details:

Kade Wakefield: 0448 563 945

Media support: 0416 426 722

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