LNP candidate for Hinkler Keith Pitt is not in Parliament yet, but that hasn't stopped him from trying to rally support to halt a Federal Government proposal he says could harm Fraser Coast commercial fishing interests.
Mr Pitt was in Hervey Bay yesterday with Matthew Canavan, who is a Coalition candidate for the Senate in the upcoming election.
The pair met with Urangan Fisheries representatives to discuss the proposed Coral Sea Marine Park, which would shut down a commercial fishing area of 1.3 million sq km.
Mr Pitt said the lack of consultation with the fishing industry was a major problem with the proposal, and that it would have a major impact on the future profitability of commercial fishing on the Fraser Coast and all along the Queensland coast.
"Governments shouldn't be in the business of closing down industries," he said.
Mr Pitt and Mr Canavan said independent MPs such as Bob Katter or Tony Windsor should join with the Coalition in voting against the proposed changes if they were serious about representing regional Australians.
Paul Hodson, manager at Urangan Fisheries, said the potential loss of fishing grounds in the Coral Sea could result in the loss of millions of dollars for the local fishing industry.
He said the bottom end of the fishing grounds in question were now used for ocean king prawns, but it was the loss of potential future growth that hurt the most.
Mr Hodson said taking fishing grounds away from Australian fishers would also result in more imported seafood being required.
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