Australia,Vietnam boost cooperation on illegal fishing; Turnbull gov’t improves IP arrangements

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Great Barrier Reef
Oliver Lanyon, Senior Ranger in the Great Barrier Reef region for the Queenlsand Parks and Wildlife Service, takes photographs and notes during an inspection of the reef's condition in an area called the 'Coral Gardens' located at Lady Elliot Island and 80 kilometers north-east from the town of Bundaberg in Queensland, Australia, June 11, 2015. Reuters/David Gray

Australia and Vietnam have increased their teamwork to combat illegal fishing in the Asia Pacific region. Meanwhile, the Turnbull government is improving the nation’s intellectual property (IP) arrangements.

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Anne Ruston and Vietnamese Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan extended the close partnership between Australia and Vietnam as they signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the APEC meeting in Can Tho. Ruston stressed that the two countries have a long-standing commitment to tackle illegal fishing.

Ruston said the two nations have teamed up successfully for more than10 years under the South East Asian Regional Plan of Action to promote responsible fishing. “I’m proud to extend our relationship by signing this MoU with Vietnam to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing with the Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ha Cong Tuan,” Ruston said in a media release from Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources and Vietnamese Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Tuan support Ruston’s statement, saying the MOU would deepen cooperation between the two governments as they address Australian and Vietnamese flag carrying vessels involved in IUU fishing. They have also welcomed the beginning of an Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) country study on regional fisheries regulations and policies.

According to Ruston, it would help grow fisheries and the aquaculture sector to benefit local communities. “Fisheries and aquaculture are an important part of the Vietnamese economy, particularly to the wellbeing of local communities, and so Australia is glad to support the project with a financial contribution of $257,000,” she said.

Australia’s IP arrangements

The government seeks to improve Australia’s IP arrangements by ensuring they provide the flexibility needed for the 21st century economy. Arthur Sinodinos, the minister for industry, innovation and science, and Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield said the proposed changes responded to a recent Productivity Commission review.

As suggested by the Productivity Commission, IP policy will reportedly be tracked by a new IP Policy Group. One of the main priorities is to align Australian inventive step law with international best practice to guarantee that necessary protections are available to deserving inventions.

The government will work alongside industry and stakeholders through consultation to determine how to implement the reforms in the best way. It has also agreed to the Productivity Commission’s recommendation to phase out the Innovation Patent System, according to a media release published at

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