Abbott’s Fisheries team

TASMANIAN Senator Richard Colbeck islikely to be responsible for federal fisheries policies, followingthe announcement of key ministerial appointments by Tony Abbott.

Senator Colbeck, a Liberal, was todaynamed as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture.

In something of a surprise move, highprofile Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce has been appointed as AgricultureMinister, replacing long-time shadow minister John Cobb.

Senator Colbeck was a formerparliamentary secretary for fisheries under the Howard government. Hehas looked after the portfolio throughout the Coalition’s six yearsin opposition.

Although full details have not beenannounced, it is expected that Senator Colbeck will takeresponsibility for the fisheries and forestry aspects of theAgriculture portfolio.

Recreational fishing lobbyists havebeen working with Senator Colbeck for the past several years.

“He has been very supportive ourcampaigns against the marine park plans being pushed by anti-fishinggroups like Pew,” one senior rec fishing source said today.

“We’ve also worked with him todevelop his understanding of the social and economic importance ofthe rec fishing sector.”

Senator Colbeck was previously a vocalsupporter of the supertrawler, although his enthusiasm for industrialfishing has been more muted in recent times.

Former shadow tourism minister BobBaldwin, another strong supporter of the recreational fishing sector,has been appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Industry. It is notknown if this portfolio will include responsibility for tourism orregional development.

Greg Hunt retains the Environmentportfolio and will be a key figure as the new Government moves tofulfil its promise to “suspend and review” the contentious marinepark plans instigated by the former Labor government.

Stay tuned in coming weeks for moredetails on how and when this will unfold.

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