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Govt dithering threatens $multi-million industry

Govt dithering threatens multi-million dollar industry

Government dithering is threatening the future of the multi-million dollar aquaculture industry, says National Party Fisheries spokesman Phil Heatley.

Mr Heatley was commenting on today's announcement by Labour that the current aquaculture moratorium will be extended through until December 2004.

"Labour's failure to resolve the foreshore and seabed issue has held up aquaculture reforms," says Mr Heatley.

"For months, the Fisheries Minister has been falsely reassuring the industry that the moratorium wouldn't be extended. Now he's dropped this bombshell.

"As long as the foreshore and seabed issue remains unresolved, there is no guarantee that a nine-month extension will make us better off than we were when the moratorium began.

"Marine farmers can't take much more of this uncertainty. They're frustrated by the Government holding up development and are looking offshore for opportunities," says Mr Heatley.

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