Something fishy in NSW Fisheries

NSW Fisheries workers told they will have to move from Cronulla to regional centres such as Coffs Harbour to keep their jobs have made a plea to Premier Barry O'Farrell.

The NSW Government has announced it will close the historic Cronulla Fisheries Research Centre, where 147 staff work, as part of its move to decentralised some metropolitan-based departments.

During a visit to the Coffs Coast last week, Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson announced 16 commercial fisheries jobs would be relocated to Coffs Harbour, recreational fisheries jobs would move to Port Stephens and policy positions would shift to Nowra.

However, 100 workers at the Cronulla centre have protested the decision and confronted Mr O'Farrell at a Liberal party function in Sydney.

"It was meant to be a silent protest to just ask the Premier to look into this decision by the Nationals," Dr Matthew Ives research scientist with the Wild Fisheries Research Program said.

"Unfortunately it got a bit noisy. But it's pretty hard to keep 100 people silent that have been told if they want their jobs they have to leave their homes.

"This reckless decision made by the Nationals is a terrible waste of taxpayers' money and a tragic loss of expertise to this state," he said.

Ms Hodgkinson responded saying the NSW Government believes that regional NSW should play a bigger role in the future of the state.

"We want more jobs and careers for regional NSW and that is why the NSW Government intends to maintain the level of services and research currently provided by the Cronulla Fisheries Research Centre," Ms Hodgkinson said.

She said the relocation of 16 fisheries positions to Coffs Harbour would have great benefits for the local economy.



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