Falklands : Motion of Thanks Speech by the Hon Mrs Phyl Rendell:
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 04.06.2014 (Article Archived on 19.07.2014)
Mr Speaker, Your Excellency, Honourable Members, in seconding the Motion of Thanks to His Excellency the Governor for his address, I would like firstly to comment on my portfolio, Natural Resources.
Motion of Thanks Speech by the Hon Mrs Phyl Rendell:
PR: Mr Speaker, Your Excellency, Honourable Members, in seconding the Motion of Thanks to His Excellency the Governor for his address, I would like firstly to comment on my portfolio, Natural Resources.
I agree that it has been a remarkable year for the Illex fishery, with the catch this season being the largest on record for the Falklands. This has resulted in a great deal of activity in the fishing grounds and in our harbours where the squid is being transhipped. Illex licence fees have therefore made a large contribution to the Government’s income this year. This is very welcome indeed when we have been planning the capital programme. You mentioned a review of the Fisheries Licences regime or the ITQ system. This is a very important piece of work.
The commitment of individual licence holders and FIFCA, the fisheries association here in the Falklands collectively have been striving to add value to the fishery and also to invest new warehouses, new vessels and other necessary infrastructure. And this is to be commended.
Revenue from the fishery has been the main driver of our economy for the last 25 years and has enabled the growth of high standards in many of the services that we have here in the Falklands. You mentioned the Fisheries Department’s continuous monitoring of fish stocks in our zone and I reiterate that we would welcome an exchange of data with Argentina to ensure better management of all fish stocks in the region to the benefit of both countries and the environment. It is never too late to re-start that dialogue. Perhaps with a change of Government in Argentina next year, we may be able to do that.
The season has indeed been a cool one for farmers, with associated issues of poor crops and lighter stock. But it is a credit to all the industry and the Department of Agriculture as to how these conditions have been managed. I think that may set us on the right path when we have to deal with climate change, which we are told is a reality.
The wool yields have been good and the number of animals assigned to FIMCO was on target. Most fortunately wool prices have remained steady and meat prices have improved. So we should be able to see a continuous investment into farm improvements.
I would like to speak about Falklands Landholdings for a moment as I chair the Board. We had several profitable seasons and I think it has been very encouraging to see the major investment in these farms, particularly in wind-power, which will give us long-term savings, along with new buildings, fencing and machinery. Many of these farms are on the road network and you can drive through and see the tangible changes on those farms in the last few years.
And the number of animals supplied by FLH to FIMCO is critical in running the meat company and requires commitment and hard work on the part of Managers and Staff. Owen Summers, FLH’s General Manager for some 10 years, retires this year. And it must be rewarding for him to see the farms turning a profit after so many lean years with low wool prices. I would like to thank Owen for all his work for FLH over the last 10 years and also his work for FIG before that and I wish him well in his retirement.
Your Excellency, you mentioned a need for improved transport links in your address. In addition to external links, people living in Camp need improvements to roads in particular. Perhaps I should call them tracks as my Honourable colleague Mr Edwards would call them to operate more efficient and profitable businesses. I am pleased to see that in the budget process so far we have had considerable support for increased funding for maintenance and reconstruction in some cases of roads in the Camp.
I also look forward to seeing policies being drafted on tracks to non-agricultural destinations for one; also on air-strips and on jetties. And they would be presented to MLAs for consideration in the coming year.
A number of funded projects will come to an end and we now need to look forward to the next phase and how we are going to support infrastructure. The Rural Development Strategy Steering group recognises this need for baseline facilities to ensure Camp businesses contrive and we will work with PWD, FIDC and other organizations to work out the details in these policies.
The RDS is also actively recruiting a rural energy advisor who, when appointed, will address the need for a policy on replacement power infrastructure as well as providing advice on new power systems.
The Legislative Drafting timetable for the coming year is indeed ambitious. I welcome in particular the work being done by the Fisheries Department, Policy Unit and their consultants and the Attorney General’s chambers on the Marine legislation that will address many shipping issues which are well over-due and are required to regulate increased activity by the oil industry in our waters.
As with other Bills the Marine Bill will be available for public comment in due course.
You mentioned in your address, your Excellency the difficulties we have in Argentina and the Falkland Island’s Government’s determination, to get our message out around the world and to develop and responsibly manage our natural resources. I look forward to promoting this message in the coming year.
Mr Speaker, I second the Motion.