Seafood industry hails Australian government’s 2020-2021 budget

The Australian government's 2020-2021 federal budget is being hailed by Seafood Industry Australia (SIA) as a “great win” for Australian businesses, with the seafood industry getting a much needed boost to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a press release, the SIA thanked the coalition government's work in helping Australian businesses retain jobs through the coronavirus pandemic.

“The federal government has moved decisively in this budget and helped carve out a path to recovery for the many industries, including the Australian seafood industry, impacted by the COVID-19 economic crisis,” SIA CEO Veronica Papacosta said. “The 2020-21 budget recognizes the fundamental role agriculture and primary production is poised to play in Australia’s COVID-19 recovery and reaffirms the government’s support of the Australian seafood industry.”

According to the budget overview of Australia’s 2020-2021 federal budget, the government is investing AUD 328 million (USD 233 million, EUR 198 million) in agricultural exports to help farmers recover from drought, bushfires, and the impacts of COVID -19.

The government is also assisting the farmers to get their products to overseas markets  through  improved digital services by providing AUD 222 million (USD 158 million, EUR 134 million) to modernize digital services for agricultural exporters. Its also investing AUD 35.2 million (USD 25 million, EUR 21 million)  to cut the regulatory burden on seafood, meat, live animal, and plant exporters. 

“This is arguably the most important budget of a generation, and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has outlined a pragmatic, bold spending agenda that will accelerate agriculture’s growth and the contribution Australia’s seafood industry makes to the nation’s bottom line,” SIA said.

It also thanked the government for extending the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) until 30 June, 2021, and measures to address labor shortages and support for upskilling.

The extension, Papacosta said, will allow Australia’s wild-catch fishers and aquaculturists to deliver produce to key international markets, including China, Japan, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates.

"This extension provides market certainty to our exporters who rely on air freight, and will help protect jobs in the wild-caught and aquaculture sectors, and countless more positions downstream in post-harvest, freighting, and beyond,” he said. “Keeping our industry connected to international markets not only secures the future of businesses and jobs, but cements our reputation as a reliable trading partner post-COVID-19.”

The Australian government will also invest AUD 4 million (USD 3 million, EUR 2.4 million)  in SIA's “Eat Seafood, Australia!” consumption marketing campaign to encourage Australians to eat more Australian seafood, along with the AFMA fee-levy relief

Photo courtesy ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock


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