24 November 2016

Speech: Geelong Star gone forever from Australian waters

After the news broke late yesterday, today I am very proud to rise and celebrate the fact that the Dirk Dirk as it is now called, the fishing trawler previously known as the Geelong Star, has left Australian waters for good. This is a fantastic outcome, and I am incredibly proud to have stood up for the people of Corangamite, the environmentalists, the people who love our oceans and the recreational fishers—men, women and their kids—in campaigning to have this trawler banned. I want to particularly commend the Assistant Minister for Agriculture, Senator Anne Ruston, with whom I have worked very closely on this issue. The Dutch owners, Parlevliet & Van der Plas BV, made a statement late yesterday saying that they could no longer reach commercial agreement with the Australian operators of the Geelong Star. What an absolute embarrassment it was for our city for that trawler to be named after our great city. It is wonderful that it has been renamed. It is wonderful that it is on its way to Holland. I am incredibly proud—despite the fact the fishing quota was set by the previous Labor government—that, through a lot of grassroots advocacy, we will hopefully see the end of what was known as the Geelong Star.

In my electorate of Corangamite, which includes 188 kilometres of magnificent coastline, there was vehement opposition to this trawler. I have long campaigned for a ban. I have always questioned the science and it has been pretty disgraceful when you saw the carnage and the number of protected marine mammals that were killed as a result. So it is a great day for the environment and for our oceans. (Time expired)

24 November 2016