Government integrity slips through the Taskforce net

Hinchinbrook MP and KAP Deputy Leader, Nick Dametto with a Hinchinbrook local fisher.

21 July 2023

Commercial fishers across Queensland have had their hopes destroyed of a fair go following a State Government announcement that the independent Future Fisheries Taskforce will be Chaired by a past World Wildlife Fund (WWF) employee of nine years, Mr John Tanzer.

The Future Fisheries Taskforce (Taskforce) was formulated in the wake of the industry destroying joint announcement by the State and Federal Governments back in June declaring that all commercial gillnets would be banned from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park by mid-2027.

Part of the Taskforce’s role is to develop industry assistance packages for those impacted by the gillnet ban but those in industry say that any hope they had of receiving equitable remuneration for their loss of future income was now in tatters.

Hinchinbrook MP and KAP Deputy Leader, Nick Dametto, questioned if the appointment of a heavily engrained WWF ambassador as the Chair of the Taskforce was a job for the boys, and described this appointment as letting the fox loose in the commercial fishing industry hen house.

“Its right there on their website, WWF is out to decimate net fishing and they are proud to have this on display. It’s one of their flagship policies, ‘Net-free reef – Take action now to create a thriving Reef free from commercial gill nets’,” Mr Dametto said.

“The Government must answer how they intend to ensure that someone who has committed nine years of their career towards the demise of the commercial fishing industry is going to be able to act from a position on neutrality when drafting recommendations regarding the due consideration that should be given to these business owners.

“I thought the role of the Fisheries Minister was to work with and stick up for industry, not gut them when pushed by green influences.

“People’s livelihoods are at stake here and I think the Government needs to be very careful and think about the implications of their decisions that are only geared to appeasing UNESCO.

“I’m calling on the Minister to restore some faith in the process. If he has a shred of moral fibre left in his body then he must use it to ensure that Taskforce is chaired from a point of independence and not from one of ingrained prejudice.

“Those being forced out of the seafood industry should be given a chance to exit with dignity.”


Nick Dametto MP