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In December last year I visited Norfolk Island (at my own expense) and met with a number of people in official and non-official capacities.

A comment was made to me that the Commonwealth Government was collecting millions of dollars in royalties from fishing activities around Norfolk Island, and I undertook to find out whether that is true, and if so what the money is used for.

At Senate Estimates in February 1st I questioned representatives from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) and they confirmed no royalties are collected. AFMA said Australian fishers are given access to some waters around Norfolk Island although there is an exclusive zone where only fishers from Norfolk can operate.

AFMA said the gross value of production from Commonwealth fishers operating in waters outside the exclusion zone around Norfolk Island can vary but could reach $2 million dollars a year. AFMA collects about $15 million a year from the entire commonwealth fishing industry on a cost-recovery basis and says a very small percentage of that would be for effort undertaken in waters adjacent to Norfolk island.

So the rumour that the Commonwealth Government collects millions of dollars in royalties and permit fees for fishing in the vicinity of Norfolk Island is incorrect.

John Williams

Senator for New South Wales

The Nationals.

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