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AUSTRALIAN SEAFOOD INDUSTRY WELCOMES NATIONAL SYSTEM

Australian seafood industry welcomes National System

Seafood Industry Australia (SIA), the national peak-body representing the Australian seafood industry, has welcomed the Federal Budget announcement of additional $11 million in funding in 2021‑22 for the National System for Domestic Commercial Vessel Safety from the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack.

The Australian Government’s 2018 commitment that no levy would be charged to industry for the first three years of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s (AMSA) delivery of National System services has been extended by another year, meaning no levy will be charged in 2021-22. Increasing the Government’s contribution to the National System to $76 million, and total funding by all governments to $123 million.

“This funding will allow the Government to delay its planned review of costs and charges for the National System for 12 months, which will provide further financial relief and certainty to our industry during these challenging times,” SIA CEO Veronica Papacosta said.

“On behalf of our members and the entire Australian seafood industry, SIA would like to thank the Federal Government, Deputy Prime Minister McCormack and AMSA for this cost delay which has allayed the fears of many in industry who are still grappling with the financial stressors of COVID-19 and a string of natural disasters which has hit our industry nationwide.

“Delaying the introduction of a levy will provide the Australian seafood industry with the opportunity to adjust to the ‘new normal’, and allow us more time to focus on our recovery from the devastating impacts of COVID-19, which saw our key export and foodservice markets wiped out; along with the long-term effects of events such as the bushfires, floods and droughts.”

“Whether a small commercial tourism operator showcasing our nation’s beautiful coasts and regions, or a commercial fisher doing their part to keep shelves stocked with fresh food, we want to make sure seafarers and maritime businesses can continue to operate, or get back out on the water soon,” Mr McCormack said in a statement.

“By supporting operations across our marine tourism, transport and fishing industries, we are also supporting the many coastal and regional communities who rely on these businesses for their economies.”

“The Coalition has provided unwavering support for the Australian seafood industry throughout the COVID-19 economic crisis, and we thank them for helping to keep Australian businesses and jobs afloat, and Australian seafood on the table,” Ms Papacosta said.