The Nationals WA have welcomed the McGowan Government’s latest backflip which will see Labor discard its ill-advised plot to seize control of 1,385 tonnes of WA’s annual lobster catch.
Leader Mia Davies said the McGowan Government had again put industry and regional communities through unnecessary grief by failing to consult in the first place.
“It’s déjà vu all over again,” Ms Davies said.
“Just as Labor did with its proposed closure of the School of the Air, the gruelling fight to shut down Moora Residential College and the damaging plan to cut Community Resource Centre funding in half – they failed to actually have a conversation with the people whose lives they were upending.
“This latest episode again proves the McGowan Government has no connection to regional Western Australia, and little interest in understanding a key industry for our State.”
Ms Davies said there was merit in ensuring locally caught lobsters were more readily available for domestic consumption and the industry had proactively tried to work with Government to achieve this outcome.
Ms Davies congratulated the sector for presenting a united front to fight Labor’s cash-grab since the day it was dumped on them in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
“The Nationals – led by our fisheries spokesperson Colin de Grussa and Moore MP Shane Love – have met with these groups, affected families and stakeholders,” she said.
“Up until this point the Fisheries Minister has stubbornly refused to budge and the Premier has been forced to step in and clean up his mess.
“The message to Labor is clear: we will not stand idly by as you try to destroy our communities or industries.”
On 9 January The Nationals WA issued a media statement calling on Premier Mark McGowan to “step in and put an end to his Fisheries Minister’s reckless plot to nationalise the local rock lobster industry”.
Fisheries spokesperson Colin de Grussa said he was relieved that common sense had prevailed but urged the Premier to relieve Mr Kelly of his duties.
“The damage this Minister has inflicted on the industry is irreconcilable,” Mr de Grussa said.
How can the Premier possibly expect the industry to work constructively with the Minister again after the pain and mistrust he cultivated through his foolish cash grab?” Mr de Grussa said.