Fears for southeast fishing zones

OPINION

RECREATIONAL fishers may one day be forced to pay a licence fee to the Aboriginal custodians if native land rights are extended to include traditional fishing grounds.

That's the fear of senior bureaucrats in three State Government departments.

I'm told fishing rights over an area known as Quandamooka Sea Country would include popular fishing spots on Moreton Bay, Redland Bay, Moreton Island, North and South Stradbroke islands and Sandgate in Brisbane.

A spokesman said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Minister Jackie Trad was aware of a fresh registered native claim, but it may take years to reach court.

The claim has sent shockwaves through the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, with senior public servants saying fishing rights could become a major electoral issue.

However Aboriginal leader Cameron Costello said the Quandamooka mob already had non-exclusive rights over 23,000sq km of territory that included fishing zones.

Costello is chief of the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation, ruled out a fishing tax.

In a statement prepared by public relations firm he said: "There are no fees or plans to charge for fishing on those waters."

A government spokesman said any claims could take years to reach court.
A government spokesman said any claims could take years to reach court.

 

Nevertheless, I'm told State Government departments are in a quandary over how to deal with court claims favouring indigenous groups.

The Quandamooka people have harvested fish in the area for 25,000 years. Their catch includes mullet, shellfish, dugongs and turtles. The Quandamooka people were granted native title in 2011 after an 11 year battle.

In another stunning decision last year the Federal Court recognised the Quandamooka people as the traditional owners of Mulgumpin or Moreton Island, granting Native Title over 98 per cent of the island.

The decision did not impact on freehold land or leasehold land at Tangalooma.

There are more than 70 other indigenous groups on the Queensland coastline and the Great Barrier Reef who claim traditional ownership status.

Expect more claims.

The Premier’s former chief of staff David Barbagallo
The Premier’s former chief of staff David Barbagallo

 

Justice delayed?

I AM amazed the Crime and Corruption Commission seems to be dragging its heels on the case involving the Premier's former chief of staff David Barbagallo, accused of wrongdoing in Parliament.

It is now 11 months since the CCC was handed the Ernst and Young review into how the Advance Queensland Business Development Fund awarded $267,500 to Fortress Capstone, a firm of which Barbagallo was listed as a shareholder and director.

Barbagallo denied wrongdoing.

Why has the investigation been delayed? How many people were interviewed? Will the Ernst and Young report be made public? I asked the CCC.

The response was curt: "This matter is yet to be finalised. On that basis, it is not appropriate for the CCC to comment further."

Originally published as Fears for southeast fishing zones


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