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AFTA hails 2016 as ‘year of achievement’

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AFTA CEO, Allan Hansard, addresses delegates to the Parliamentary Breakfast in Canberra.

The Australian Fishing Trade Association (AFTA) has hailed 2016 as a year of achievement for the organisation and its members.

Its CEO, Allan Hansard, chronicled a list of successes for AFTA in its latest newsletter. This included hosting the largest fishing and outdoors trade show in Australia in August and establishing recreational fishing as a powerful political force.

Its list of achievements included:

  • Establishing a National Recreational Fishing Council;
  • Launching a national recreational fishing Code of Practice;
  • The Geelong Star ‘super trawler’ issue which has resulted in the controversial craft leaving Australian waters;
  • The campaign to stop marine park lock-outs at Commonwealth level and in the States;
  • The removal of the GST tax threshold on low value imports.

Geelong Star

One of the biggest news stories of the year of interest to recreational anglers was the departure of the Geelong Star. It is no longer under Australian jurisdiction after being in the country’s waters since April 2015.

Hansard said this is great news for recreational fishers. “Now it is important that we continue to work with the Government to ensure the Geelong Star or a similar boat does not return to Australia.

“We need to make sure that the small pelagic fishery and other key fisheries are managed to recognise the benefits that recreational fishing brings to millions of Australians, hundreds of communities and thousands of businesses throughout Australia.”

Parliamentary Breakfast

As it attempts to move the sport up the political agenda, the Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF) hosted the now well established Parliamentary Breakfast with the theme of ‘Recreational fishing for the wellbeing of our nation’.

It attracted representatives from the industry and Federal politicians and resulted in a proposal from the Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon MP, Shadow Fisheries Minister, for the introduction of a ‘Friends of Fishing Group’ to Parliament House. Hansard said: “This would be a positive move that should see further opportunities to educate our politicians on the importance of recreational fishing in Australia.”

GST on low value imports

AFTA says that the taxation inequity created by the low value imported goods GST threshold has been an issue for Australia’s fishing trade for a number of years.

Hansard explained: “Our view is that it has harmed the domestic fishing trade, contributing to job losses and business closures.

“Though our industry does not have specific data, anecdotal accounts suggest that many of these low value imports are items such as fishing reels that are declared with a value of less than $A1,000. These are supplied by not only large scale website platforms, but also small scale vendors.”

The Government’s decision in 2015 to remove the low value threshold has been applauded by AFTA and its members. The amendment to the law will require overseas vendors, electronic distribution platforms and goods forwarders to account for GST on sales of low value goods to consumers in Australia if they have a GST turnover ­ in terms of imports to Australia of $A75,000 or more. This came into effect this year.

Hansard said that AFTA will be working with the Australian Revenue Office (ARO) and other industry representative groups to ensure legislation is practically implemented and is effective in stopping low value imports entering the country without paying GST.
 

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