Source: Newcastle Herald | By: Simon Walker | Posted: April 2, 2020
HUNTER MPs Greg Piper and Sonia Hornery have welcomed the announcement that fishing and boating are allowed so long as the two-person and social distancing rules apply.
The news comes after representations to the government about mixed messaging after new lockdowns came into effect on Tuesday.
"This is a commonsense outcome that we welcome and comes after we received an enormous volume of inquiries from our electorate about whether people would get fined for going fishing," Mr Piper said.
New restrictions came into force at midnight on March 31 making it illegal to leave your home without a "reasonable excuse" unless it was for "essential" gatherings, with offenders liable for a $11,000 fine, six months jail or both.
Among the reasonable excuses listed by the government were exemptions for obtaining food, and exercise.
The question for anglers was did fishing qualify as exercise. On Wednesday, following legal advice, police advised that fishing did not comply as it was was not regarded as an essential activity, and therefore people could be subject to fines.
But acting on new legal advice later in the day, Police Minister David Elliott announced that fishing would be regarded as "passive exercise" and therefore allowed.
"This is a win for commonsense and will no doubt make a lot of people very happy," Ms Hornery said. "The overall advice for people is to remain at home unless it is necessary but if you need to fish, you are now able to do so as long as you observe the two-person rule and social distancing rule."
Greg Piper has been an independent voice for the people of Lake Macquarie for more than 20 years, as a Member of Parliament, Mayor and councillor. He was elected to Lake Macquarie council in 1991, served as Mayor from 2004 until 2012 and has been the State MP for Lake Macquarie since 2007.