Wendouree electorate fishing and boating – Ministerial Response

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Original adjournment matter from Juliana Addison MP to Parliament –

I direct my adjournment matter to the Minister for Fishing and Boating. The action I seek from the minister is to provide me with an update on the Victorian government’s investment in fishing and boating and how this is benefiting recreational fishing in Victoria.

I was honoured to welcome the minister to my electorate of Wendouree to visit the Ballarat Fly Fishers Club and the Ballarat Fish Hatchery recently. It was fantastic to tour the Ballarat Fish Hatchery, located adjacent to Lake Wendouree, with the minister and hear from the volunteers about the work they do.

Significantly, Ballarat’s fish hatchery is the oldest fish hatchery in mainland Australia, established in 1870. I welcomed the opportunity to assist the minister with stocking Lake Wendouree with brown and rainbow trout and mark the 10 millionth fish being stocked in Victorian waterways over the past year. Thank you to the Ballarat fly-fishing club for hosting the event.

I am always pleased to learn new things, and I appreciate Chris Doody from the Ballarat District Anglers Association for teaching me about the differences between male and female trout, and Dennis Faulkner for the quick lesson in fly-fishing. It was after speaking with Chris that I was made aware of the outstanding achievements of Marian Miller.

Marian was selected to compete for Australia’s women’s fly-fishing team at the 2020 Commonwealth Fly Fishing Championships in New Zealand. It was a successful competition for Marian and the squad, with the Australians placing first in the team competition. Marian continued to be recognised as one of Australia’s premier fly-fishers, gaining selection into the Australian commonwealth and world teams in 2021. Unfortunately due to the global pandemic these competitions were cancelled. Marian’s latest achievement will be representing the Australian women’s team at the inaugural FIPS-Mouche World Ladies Fly Fishing Championship in Norway this July. She is the only Victorian in the squad, and I wish Marian every success.

Not only is Marian a champion in her own right but she is also a champion for the participation of women in the sport of fishing. She is part of the leadership group for the Women in Recreational Fishing Network established in Victoria to encourage women to participate in all types of fishing. Marian has also been involved in the Casting for Recovery program, which introduces women who have had or currently have breast cancer to the healing power of fly fishing.

I look forward to receiving an update from the minister on how the Victorian government can continue to support great people like Marian and recreational fishing in Victoria.

Response from the Hon Melissa Horne MP, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, Minister for Ports and Freight, & Minister for Fishing and Boating (6 June 2022) –

I thank the Member for Wendouree for her question and her advocacy on behalf of recreational fishers in her community.

Recreational fishing contributes $2.3 billion to the Victorian economy and employs 34,000 people, contributing significantly to families and communities.  The $35 million package of commitments in 2018 built on the success of the $46 million package of commitments made in 2014, to make recreational fishing even better.

The Victorian Recreational Fishing Tourism Strategy was released in December 2021. Fifty-three recommendations will be implemented over the next five years to encourage people to fish more often and entice inbound and intrastate visitor markets to fish and explore Victoria.

The Andrews Labor Government has guaranteed access for non-powered craft and small craft with electric motors to more waterways throughout Victoria. Boat launching and car parking facilities at Barkers Creek and Upper Coliban were also delivered in September 2020 and March 2021, respectively. Boat ramps have been made free, the Better Boating Fund has been established with over $30 million each year directed towards boating, and the biggest boating construction program in Victoria’s history is underway.

Access has also been improved via upgrades to three fishing platforms and construction of ten fish cleaning tables at five sites across Victoria.

We have built a new native fish farm at Arcadia, near Shepparton, based on the latest technology to breed critically endangered species to provide sustainable recreational fishing. Some final works remain underway following operationalisation, with the farm on schedule for completion in July 2022.

Fish stocking has grown dramatically.  In April 2022, the Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) reached the target of 10 million fish stocked.  Waters right across the state including the Ballarat district are benefiting from these fish stockings.

We have improved habitat in Port Phillip Bay. More shellfish reefs were restored at Dromana and 9ft Bank near Geelong in 2021, three rocky recreational fishing reefs were deployed in Corio Bay in 2021, and a kingfish reef was deployed in Port Phillip Bay in May 2022.

Fishing experiences have been delivered to over 60,000 people across more than 65 events since 2018. The events give people the opportunity to enjoy recreational fishing, many for the first time. These events were held across the state, including at Karkarook, Seymour, Bendigo, Tooradin, Torquay, Shepparton, Ballarat, Eildon, Lilydale, Albert Park, Lakes Entrance, Portarlington, Nagambie, Williamstown and Mordialloc.

The Women in Recreational Fishing (WIRF) Network was established in 2018 to encourage more women to actively participate in fishing. The network is primarily an online community with over 3500 members on Facebook and nearly 1000 followers on Instagram, designed to be inclusive of women from all backgrounds, skills and ages to connect and share their love of fishing, give and receive advice and pick up a new hobby. Events and resources have also been created to build confidence and knowledge in fishing.