Seafood Industry Australia (SIA) has welcomed the Federal Government’s $110 million International Freight Assistance announcement.
“We’d like to thank the Federal Government for helping to keep Aussie jobs and Aussie seafood on the table,” SIA CEO Jane Lovell said.
“The Australian seafood industry has been in turmoil since orders to China evaporated on 24 January (2020). We asked the Federal Government for financial support and coordination assistance to reopen export markets; today we can tick that box.
“Seafood Industry Australia was created for moments like this. As the voice of the Australian seafood industry we asked our members what their needs were, how we could keep the industry afloat, and we took that message to Governments right around the country.
“The assistance pledged today (April 1 2020) will help the Australian seafood industry restart exports to global markets, including China. This means not only securing Australian businesses and jobs in the seafood industry, but further downstream in processing, freight and beyond.
“For the Aussie seafood businesses who have effectively been without an income for nine weeks, for their employees, and for their families this marks the beginning of a return to normal. There’s no better stimulus than getting back to work.
“We have orders waiting, and we now have a way to confidently go fishing to fill those orders.
“We asked for government fees and charges to be waived, and the Federal Government heard that request and has waived fisheries management levies under the Australian Fisheries Management Authority, saving our industry more than $10 million this year (2020). This waiver is welcome news for our struggling industry and will provide a slight reprieve to many.
“We look forward to welcoming more good news over the coming weeks as other states assist industry by waiving their fees and charges. We understand there are many challenges for Governments across the country right now, but as an essential service, who provide more than one billion meals to families here and overseas, it is critical that we’re able to keep working.
“We have worked closely with the Federal Government, and particularly Assistant Minister Jonathon Duniam and his office. We thank Jonno and Danielle for responding to our calls for help – and we look forward to continuing to work with them to deliver on challenges we continue to face.
“We’d also like to acknowledge the hard work of Seafood Trade Advisory Group’s (STAG) Nathan Maxwell and Jayne Gallagher.”