Push to relocate fishing agency

EYRE Peninsula councils are calling for federal aquaculture and fisheries agencies to be relocated to Port Lincoln.

The Eyre Peninsula Local Government Association (EPLGA) and Regional Development Australia, Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula will make a joint submission to the Australian Senate inquiry on the relocation of government bodies to regional areas. 

The inquiry will examine how decentralised agencies will operate outside of a major city and the potential economic, environmental and capability implications or benefits of relocation. 

EPLGA president Bruce Green said the idea to relocate the federal fisheries and aquaculture agencies came from federal agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce’s success at relocate grains research to his electorate.

Mr Green said the EPLGA and its member councils thought it was a good idea and agreed with the concept.

“The item really came up as a topical item, the motion was proposed by Tumby Bay and it was supported by the rest of the councils,” Mr Green said. 

“As far as seafood and marine biology are concerned we think we are well placed.” 

Mr Green said the advantages of moving offices outs of bit cities and into regional areas was substantial.

“I think if we were talking about agriculture we might not have much success here but as far as fisheries and aquaculture are concerned it’s a good fit,” Mr Green said. 

Mr Green said it was not the first time the concept had been discussed and the inquiry was a good opportunity to highlight the potential benefits to the fishing industry and to research if the agencies were relocated.

He said the concept had been tried before, with the construction of the Lincoln Marine Science Centre and while that had not worked for Flinders Universtity, decentralising aquaculture and fisheries agencies to Port Lincoln made sense.

Mr Green said Port Lincoln should be considered as it was in a good location, there was space in the city and it was not as isolated as it once was with Adelaide a 30-minute flight away.

He said one of the benefits of decentralisation was that it would move well paid and skilled jobs out of metropolitan areas and into regional towns. 

“It will bring employment opportunities and brings an international perspective to Port Lincoln with new people coming to town,” Mr Green said.