Beware of governments bearing gifts
I declare a deep and undying passion for recreational fishing and so read with much interest the full story under the ‘$20 million buy-back’ headline of the Port Lincoln Times on January 4.
At first glance, like many people quoted within the article, I believe the concept has some value but closer examination shows that once again the government is making much ado about very little and the sting is in the detail.
In summary, the proposal is that taxpayers are to foot the $20,000,000 bill for 100 commercial fishers to voluntarily hand back their licence.
Basic maths means that each one will get $200,000, if they accept the offer.
That is a lot of money to many of us but in a world where a commercial licence fee may be in excess of $67,000 per year, factor in the vessel and equipment to work that licence will cost 10 or more times that to buy, add in the $1,500,000 or more per year in annual registration, fuel costs, moorage, repairs and staff wages, and this offer is ‘loose change’ to the average operator.
Take into account that a quick search of commercial licence brokers shows asking prices for existing licences nudging $1.5 million and the government’s offer is below insulting and bordering on laughable.
I doubt that any sane, self-respecting commercial operator will be rushing to the phone to ensure they are the first to accept.
If they do, what do they do with their unwanted vessels, on-shore facilities, vehicles, staff et cetera?
The remaining operators won’t need them, they already have enough to meet their demands and the government says existing quotas won’t be raised.
More unemployment and vacant sites!
On the other side of the coin, the fisheries department is substantially funded by the commercial sector of the fishing industry via the licence fees.
To cut 33.3 per cent of that income and still maintain services will mean a recreation fishing licence will ‘reluctantly’ be created.
Such a licence will have a devastating effect on the peninsula’s holiday hot spots already struggling to cope with increased recreational size restrictions, reduced bag and possession limits.
Even more unemployment and vacant sites!
Like the wooden horse of Troy, beware of gifts that seem too good to be true.
Be doubly wary of such gifts from the government during an election year.
Times have changed
I recently spent some time in our local hospital where I was taken great care of by the wonderful nurses.
They are so attentive and caring, despite the fact that at times they have alcoholics and drug addicts abuse them.
The hospital is kept spotlessly clean and the meals are delicious.
These people are working so hard and paying taxes so the politicians can have chauffeur driven cars et cetera.
As an elderly person I remember when we were young we respected politicians who went to work on public transport.
How times have changed.
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