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MaltaToday 25 October 2022 MIDWEEK Budget Special

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maltatoday | TUESDAY • 25 OCTOBER 2022 Budget 2023 comes at an incredibly pertinent point in time for our society. Finance Minister Clyde Caruana's speech yesterday laid down our vision for both the short and long term – a vision which recognises the importance of strengthening our existing cultural and historical ties, while highlighting the importance of financial and technological innovation. In the fisheries and animal welfare sectors, we have already laid the groundwork for what is to come. We have invested significantly in new water and electricity pillars for our fishers, and in parallel, we have also concluded the preliminary plans for a new Animal Rehoming Centre. This project, together with the imminent publication of a new National Animal Welfare Strategy, will ensure that much-needed reforms in both sectors will finally come into fruition. Budget 2023 recognises the economic and sociological importance of the fishing and aquaculture industries; two sectors which, unfortunately, are failing to attract the new blood necessary to sustainably regenerate for the future. We are intent on promoting these two industries as viable opportunities for employment, personal growth, and satisfaction. As announced yesterday, a new scheme incentivising the transfer of knowledge, know-how, and practical experience from the older generation to the new will be launched for prospective fishers. This scheme will give a new dimension to the educational programs already in place, allowing the preservation of traditional fishing techniques in the modern age. Some of these traditional techniques will also help us limit the environmental damage, this includes both the marine environment, as well as that on land. Simultaneously, the Government is ready to invest in the technostructure currently operating in this sector. We have allocated considerable resources to modernise and move towards the use of new technological tools for and by our fishers, thus enabling a modern administrative framework for the sector to complement operations. The Maltese consumer is another key ingredient in our plans for the fishing sector, as recognised by this year's budget. We are promising the introduction of a new public information campaign on the wide variety of foods and products which originate from the seas close to our shore. The need for this measure is twofold, recognising both the sustainability of eating local, as well as its nutritional value. As announced a few weeks ago, we are also drafting new legal standards for breeders, trainers, groomers and pet-sitters. This will be done in phases and in constant consultation with all relevant stakeholders. The legislative process prior to publishing is already underway. Through the Animal Welfare Fund, we are also sustaining the infrastructure and day-to-day operations of several animal sanctuaries and the different voluntary organisations working in the field. The work undertaken by the voluntary sector remains as imperative and essential as ever, and Budget 2023 reiterates the need to assist, sustain, and work hand-in-hand with these organisations. We have also announced our intention to address the micro-chipping of domesticated and stray cats. Aside from providing peace of mind for all actual and potential owners in case their beloved pet gets lost and be re-united, this will help the Department to keep abreast of the general cat population, for the benefit of all our local communities. The coming year will certainly be full of challenges and opportunities; however, I am convinced that our efforts towards growth and more equitable redistribution during this past decade will prove invaluable. Our vision of supporting tradition, while fostering innovation, will ensure that the efforts currently undertaken in the fishing and animal welfare sectors will leave their desired impact for the benefit of all involved. Alicia Bugeja Said Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries, Aquaculture and Animal Rights Preserving Tradition, Promoting Innovation Our fishing and animal welfare sectors are currently at an important crossroads, in the midst of political and technological change MALTA ĊERTEZZA U STABBILTÀ sajd

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