MAF and Fisheries to merge

The Ministry of Fisheries and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry will be merged next year to save money, the Government confirmed today.

The merger would lower the cost of delivering government services and reduce back-office bureaucracy, State Services Minister Tony Ryall said.

It was expected annual savings from the merger, which had been flagged, would be at least $10 million, with further savings expected over time through merging administration processes and accommodation.

Agriculture and Forestry Minister David Carter welcomed the merger saying it would create an efficient and co-ordinated voice for the primary industries.

"The merger will reduce duplication and operational costs, and I expect a proportion of these savings will be shared with the sectors the agency works with to reduce the costs of doing business," Mr Carter said.

Fisheries Minister Phil Heatley said the merger would create an agency with greater capacity and capability. There would be net gains for both ministries, he said.

The merger is planned for February next year.

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