GYMPIE Regional Council yesterday threw its support behind the concerns of fishing, tourism and marine businesses throughout the region by waiving the rent for a major protest meeting to be held at the council’s showgrounds pavilion on Saturday night.
Deputy Mayor Tony Perrett told councillors yesterday meeting would discuss fishing closures proposed by conservation interests in the Cooloola Coast area.
While Environment Minister Peter Garrett has said his department’s review of fishing rights is a public consultation process, fishing interests say areas earmarked for assessment have only occurred in ocean areas near non-Labor electorates and there was no consultation involved in their selection.
Cooloola Coast amateur and recreational fishing, tourism, marine industry and general business representatives have expressed alarm at the possibility of a fishing closure off the Cooloola coastline, something which they say would destroy the Coast economy and greatly damage business and employment interests throughout the Gympie region.
In a motion seconded by Cr Larry Friske and unanimously supported at yesterday’s council Planning and Development Committee meeting, Cr Perrett moved that council waive the rent on the pavilion for Saturday’s public rally, which will feature addresses from industry leaders and three Coalition Senators concerned at the issue.
The concession, made at the request of Frank Watson, from Gympie firm Watson’s Marine, will save organisers $616 in rent.