Seafood industry needs coronavirus assistance plan


Deb Frecklington

The LNP has called on the Labor Government to deliver an assistance package for Queensland's commercial fishing industry as the coronavirus threatens to deal a major economic blow.

LNP Shadow Minister for Fisheries Tony Perrett said Queensland jobs were at risk after demand and prices for mud crabs, coral trout and other species crashed.

"First of all, I want to encourage Queenslanders to get behind the industry by heading to their local fish shop and buying Queensland seafood," Mr Perrett said.

"Queensland has some of the best seafood in the world and commercial fishers and local businesses desperately need the support of the community.

"The commercial seafood industry also needs action from the Palaszczuk Labor Government.

"Commercial fishers have been called for assistance in the form of temporary relief from Labor State Government fees and taxes on fishers, and I fully support the calls.

"Labor should also immediately adopt the LNP's seafood labelling policy to support the industry and increase local demand.

"Labor needs to put politics aside and work constructively with industry and the LNP to deliver a package that will assist in restoring market demand and offer financial support."

Mr Perrett said the fishing industry was already feeling the financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

"More than 3000 people work in Queensland's commercial fishing industry and it's part of the fabric of many regional communities and economies.

"We are hearing hundreds of boats are no longer going out and fishing because there simply just isn't the demand.

"This has huge flow on effects throughout the entire seafood supply chain.

"One simple and easy way the Labor State Government can provide instant relief is to forgo its licence and quota fees revenue or provide assistance with mooring or commercial boat trailer fees.

"Waiving state fees will give our fishers one less bill to worry about in this very stressful and critical time.

"Fishers in this Queensland were already hurting before this latest unexpected virus wiped out any profitability that was left in parts of the industry".

"The LNP's seafood labelling policy would also encourage more Queenslanders to buy seafood caught by Queensland's fishing fleet.

"Simple changes to labelling can empower consumers to make informed choice to support local catches, which will grow local demand.

"It's a simple policy that makes it easier for Queenslanders to support other Queenslanders by buying high quality and local Queensland seafood."

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