Fisho’s guide to the 2015 NSW State Election

WHILE core matters such as education, law and order and healthcare rightly remain the main concerns facing the voting public, it’s fair to say that recreational fishing issues have increased in political prominence in recent years. This was most evident in the lead-up to the last federal election, when the angling sector vociferously – and effectively – campaigned against the previous Labor government’s plan to lock fishos out of vast areas via its marine park plans.

Concerns over unfair lock-outs continue to dominate the rec fishing political agenda, but other issues such as moves to restrict or remove inshore commercial netting, co-ordinated habitat protection plans, the development of more rec-only areas, angling representation, better policy development and plans for more effective political engagement are now being seen as vital considerations when fishos head to the ballot box.

And there’s no doubt the angling vote can make a difference. Consider, for example, the recent Victorian election, where a campaign led by the tackle industry, grass roots anglers and the Keep Australia Fishing organisation saw both major parties pledge to remove netting from Port Phillip Bay in order to make it a “recreational fishing Mecca”.

In political terms, you can’t get a better result than that. No matter which party won, the rec fishing sector was assured of policy success.

There are indications that similar bipartisan political wins are there for the taking in the NSW state poll, due on March 28. In order for NSW anglers to be able to make an informed choice at the ballot box, Fishing World has compiled responses from the two major political parties, plus relevant minor parties.

See here for the responses to our questions from the Liberal National Party, Labor, the Greens, the Shooters & Fishers and the Outdoor Recreation Party.

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President of the Outdoor Recreation Party, Peter Whelan. 


Peter Johnson of the Shooters & Fishers Party.

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Labor’s fisheries spokesman Steve Whan and Mehreen Faruqi of the NSW Greens.

While Australia’s political landscape is currently undergoing a major shake-up – witness the amazing results in the Queensland state poll over the weekend as well as the continuing dramas on the federal scene involving our gaffe-prone Prime Minister – the NSW scene is generally considered fairly stable. But a day is a long time in politics so anything could happen from now until voting day. With that in mind, it’s interesting to see that the two major parties obviously consider the rec fishing vote to be important. Both parties will release comprehensive rec fishing policies before the election and both are actively seeking to woo anglers via targeted pledges and promises. For instance, Labor and the Coalition are both downplaying the marine park lockout issue and the ALP’s fisheries spokesman Steve Whan has certainly taken the lead on declaring his support for more rec-fishing areas.

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Current NSW fisheries minister Katrina Hodgkinson of the LNP.

See HERE for a fact box on the key rec-fishing policies being taken to the poll by the Coalition and Labor.

Unfortunately, there aren’t too many surprises when it comes to the minor parties. The Greens want more lockouts, the Shooters probably haven’t provided the level of policy detail as some in the angling community might have hoped for and the Outdoor Recreation Party seems to be advocating some sort of anarchist free for all …

Given that we’re yet to see final policies from Labor and the Coalition, and taking on board that the Shooters may yet produce a more substantial analysis of their policy agendas, there’s every opportunity for the NSW election to become something of a turning point for the angling sector. We’ll just have to wait and see …

That said, the one clear outcome that’s already apparent from this and all the other recent polls is that fishos are slowly but surely developing real political clout. And that’s something that’s been long overdue.

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