Tuna quota hurting industry productivity

The tuna season has just finished and we were not able to supply our customers overseas because of the ill thought out management decision from Canberra and past Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Senator Anne Ruston.

The recent productivity drive by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg must have fallen on deaf ears.

The treasurer's push for for more productivity ought to be a guiding star for our industry.

Unfortunately words are not good enough. It needs commitment and dedication plus a political will to make things happen.

Unfortunately that was not the case from public servants and Canberra politicians who are hell bent on stifling desperately needed productivity for us to keep valuable export markets we so desperately need.

South Australia is moving toward 7 per cent unemployment. Port Lincoln needs permanent jobs. South Australia needs more exports.

We have a tuna industry second to none in the world, created over many years of hard work and commitment.

Senator Ruston in her past role of Assistant Minister for Agriculture failed us and South Australia costing millions of dollars in lost revenue.

To deprive us of 250 tonnes of our quota we so desperately need just to appease the recreational sector - mainly in Victoria - is at best not the right way to handle good tuna management.

Fishing families are suffering, jobs are increasingly uncertain and apprenticeship places have been lost.

The future does not look promising.

The shortage of Australian tuna for industry is worrisome.

Exporters in Japan and China tell us we cannot be trusted as there is no clear cut direction.

We in Port Lincoln and South Australia deserve better.

The tuna poler statue on the foreshore tells the story.

Don't let a minister destroy what we have built over many years on the shoulders of those early tuna polers.

Thank God Senator Ruston is no longer involved in our sector.

Let sanity prevail so we can produce southern bluefin tune to the world, which we are more than capable of doing, we only need an even playing field.

DR HAGEN STEHR AO

Port Lincoln tuna operator

Responding to waste concerns

I write in response to Susan Craig's letter, 'Wake up to waste issue' (Times, September 5).

Ms Craig questioned the ethics of radioactive waste management and the proposed facility being considered at three sites near Kimba and Hawker in South Australia and I am happy to respond.

Firstly, around 85 per cent of Australia's radioactive waste stream is directly linked to the production of nuclear medicine that, on average, one in two Australians will need during their lifetime.

Secondly, even if we stopped making the medicine - and that the alternative methods for meeting the demand for nuclear medicine products are limited - we'd still need to store waste that's built up over almost 70 years.

Thirdly, the waste is currently spread over more than 100 locations around the country, and needs to be consolidated into what will be a single, safe and purpose-built facility.

Finally, the reason we are having this conversation at three sites in South Australia is because landowners there volunteered their land and surrounding communities broadly supported having the conversation.

We are consulting about a facility for disposal of low-level waste and temporary storage of intermediate-level waste, all of which is very safe when properly managed.

For example, the TN-81 canister containing intermediate level waste from the reprocessing of spent fuel is so heavily shielded you can stand next to it without protective clothing.

The disposal of intermediate-level waste will ultimately be moved to a suitable facility in a different location - such as a deep geological repository.

I've answered many of Ms Craig's questions directly in the past and I'm happy to continue to do so.

SAM CHARD

National Radioactive Waste Taskforce general manager

Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

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