Seafood Industry Australia welcomes Albanese Ministry and Senator Watt’s appointment as Ag Minister

Seafood Industry Australia welcomes Albanese Ministry and Senator Watt’s appointment as Ag Minister

Seafood Industry Australia (SIA), the national peak-body representing Australia’s commercial seafood industry, has welcomed the Albanese Ministry and congratulated Queensland Senator Murray Watt on his appointment as the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. 

“On behalf of Australia’s commercial seafood industry I would like to welcome Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s first full Ministry and congratulate Senator Watt on his appointment as Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry,” SIA CEO Veronica Papacosta said. 

“SIA looks forward to building on the strong relationship our commercial seafood industry has with the incoming government, and to working with Minister for Watt and his team to support Australia’s fishers, farmers and retailers who underpin the industry. 

“Workforce attraction and retention including maintaining the current Ag Visa scheme, along with export market freight access remain key focus areas for the seafood industry. We look forward to working on these important issues with Minister Watt as soon as possible. 

“The seafood industry was the first and worst hit during the COVID pandemic, and the support of International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) can be thanked for our strong position and the ability to continue our important trade relationships with our international customers. The IFAM is scheduled to end later this month, however its removal with no bridging support for producers is premature; especially as global transport faces the continued challenges of fewer passenger flights, high fuel prices and the war in Ukraine.

“We will continue to work constructively with the ALP and Minister Watt to further develop policies, positions and projects that provide benefits to those in the industry as well as those who are supportive consumers of Australia’s seafood products, including the phased introduction of Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) for Australian seafood sold in foodservice. 

“In the lead-up to the Federal Election, SIA secured a landmark commitment from the ALP to work with the seafood and hospitality sectors to implement mandatory CoOL, in support of our great Australian seafood industry. The implementation of mandatory CoOL for seafood in foodservice has been one of SIA’s key priorities for the past five years, and a cause championed by industry and consumers for decades. 

“The ALP has reinforced their support for our industry by committing to maintain our robust Marine Park network in its current form. This commitment provides surety of access to our fishers, affirms investment potential and paves the way for innovation. 

“The ALP’s election commitment to fund a two-year national roll-out of the Stay Afloat mental health program to 50 seafood hubs around the country is a wonderful result. We look forward to working with Minister for Health The Hon. Mark Butler MP and Assistant Minister for Mental Health Emma McBride MP to provide critical and much needed support to our industry members.”

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For more information or to organise an interview with SIA CEO Veronica Papacosta

please contact SIA communications and public affairs manager Jessica McInerney

E: jessica@seafoodindustryaustralia.com.au M: 0420 695 431