Boating Plan A Winner for Fishers

VRFish, the peak body representing Victorian recreational fishers, welcomes the announcement today that an elected Liberal Nationals Government would revolutionise the State’s failing boating infrastructure through their Blue Infrastructure Fund.

VRFish Chairman, Mr. Rob Loats, said “We constantly hear from fishers who are absolutely disgusted with the state of our boat ramps and it has become a major priority within our Election Policy.”

“This new Liberal National Policy commits to return the proceeds of all collected boating fees to boating infrastructure. This is very welcome news as it aligns with what we have been advocating for years,” he said.

The Victorian Government collects around $27 million annually from boat registrations and marine licenses, however, it is estimated that only $3 million per year is reinvested into the boating infrastructure.

“We are delighted that the Liberal Nationals Opposition has listened to our concerns and adopted this highly improved new policy,” he said.

The new Liberal Nationals policy also identifies that the governance of boating infrastructure is currently deficient by allocating this role to the Victorian Ports Corporation Melbourne. This reflects the practice in other Australian states and eliminates a key cause of problems and complaints about Victorian boating infrastructure.

VRFish are advocating for 100% of recreational boating and license fees to be held in a trust account and reinvested into boating infrastructure as well as the establishment of one single expertise based agency to effectively oversee, build and maintain our boating infrastructure.

“We look forward to seeing Labor’s plan to fix our boating infrastructure,” he said.

The current obsolete management of Victorian boat ramps is also a key concern as there are over 40 separate organisations looking after Victorian boat ramps leading to many ramps being neglected and boaters forced to pay additional fees.

“This coupled with too many different bodies managing our boat ramps lacks coordination, planning and maintenance programs like we see in other states.”

Recreational fishing contributes $7.1 billion to the Victorian economy annually with an estimated 838,000 participants, with large numbers fishing from boats in the freshwater and marine environment.

VRFish will continue to promote for a fair go for those that purchase boat licences, and pay registration fees on boats. This once again demonstrates the value of having a strong and independent Recreational Fishing Peak Body VRFish.

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