VRFish, the peak body representing Victorian recreational fishers today welcomed the commitment from the Victorian Government for additional investment in recreational boating infrastructure announced in the 2014/15 Victorian State Budget.
Recreational fishing contributes more than $2.3 billion to the Victorian economy each year and the increase to $8 million annually for the main source of recreational boating infrastructure investment recognises this value.
VRFish Chairman, Mr Russell Conway said, 'We congratulate the State Government and Minister for Ports, Mr David Hodgett on this initiative. Improved boating infrastructure and better fishing access go hand in hand.'
Victoria is home to a diverse array of recreational fisheries in offshore, coastal, estuarine and inland waters, many of which require boating infrastructure to provide a safe and high quality fishing experience.
The Coalition Government is also investing $10.3 million for local ports maintenance and $3.4 million to upgrade and replace marine pollution response equipment. This is significant because it means that the increase of $3 million to the annual Boating Safety and Facilities Program funding will be able to be applied to increasing and improving the capacity of boat launching facilities which serve 98% of registered recreational boat owners.
VRFish Chairman, Mr Russell Conway said 'This announcement is the result of constructive, sustained and informed discussions between VRFish and Government on how to ensure investment in Victoria’s recreational fisheries and infrastructure provide lasting community benefits.'
VRFish is also encouraged with the intent shown by Minister Hodgett and the working group on recreational boating facilities, which is working towards a better delivery model to address the significant gap between boat launching capacity and demand at peak times.
This additional investment, combined with the $16 million Recreational Fishing Initiative delivered under the auspices of the Minister for Agriculture and Food Security, Mr Peter Walsh demonstrate our shared vision to make Victoria the premier fishing destination for local and visiting anglers.
VRFish will soon be releasing its Election Wish List on infrastructure and other fishing related initiatives that aim to achieve continued growth for Victoria’s 720, 000 recreational fishers.