Independent Member for Shepparton District Suzanna Sheed says she is pleased the Andrews Government has fully funded the establishment of a new fish hatchery for the Greater Shepparton region in this year’s state budget.
In June last year after reviewing the draft Freshwater Fisheries Management Plan Ms Sheed wrote to then Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford calling on this important project to be established.
“The development of such a facility in the Shepparton District would … provide important employment opportunities, especially for the region’s large indigenous population, addressing a range of Government priorities,” Ms Sheed wrote.
In Monday’s budget, the Andrews Government demonstrated its agreement providing $7 million for the project. A further $28 million was committed over the forwarded estimates to the ‘Go Fishing Victoria –Target One Million Phase Two.’
According to state government figures more than 830,000 Victorians enjoy fishing. The industry reportedly employs more than 16,000 Victorians and is an important component of the Greater Shepparton tourism and recreation economy.
“Projects such of this one will help to further diversify Greater Shepparton’s economy, creating new opportunities and insulating our economy from shocks to any one industry,” Ms Sheed said.
Ensuring the new hatchery delivers benefits beyond improving the region’s fish stocks is also important, according to Ms Sheed.
“I have been pushing for every new project in my region to have a value-added component. A new fishery will improve native fish stocks and subsequent tourism levels, but the hatchery itself can also provide tourism and education opportunities,” she said.
“I will be asking the Andrews Government to build in a tourism and education component into this project. Providing another tourist attraction and a site of learning for our region’s students is a potential added benefit for the hatchery.”
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