Liberals pledge to give local oyster growers a helping hand

The state Liberal Party is promising to give a helping hand to oyster growers if it is elected next month.

The Liberals plan to amend the Aquaculture Act 2001 to enable aquaculture lease holders to borrow against their leases, unlocking the huge potential that exists within the industry.

State Liberal Leader Steven Marshall said the party had a plan to treble the state’s aquaculture industry and create thousands of jobs.

“There are over 1200 people currently employed in the aquaculture industry which includes some of South Australia’s finest seafood like bluefin tuna, marine finfish, oysters, mussels and abalone,” Mr Marshall said.

“Overseas and interstate markets are hungry for South Australia’s world-class seafood and demand is well and truly outstripping supply for our premium seafood.

“That’s why we will take the shackles off our aquaculture industry so it can reach its full potential by exploiting these opportunities, boost our exports and support job creation.”

The South Australian Oyster Growers Association (SAOGA) said the reforms could bring the oyster industry alone to more than $100 million, which would create much need regional jobs.

“Obviously the oyster industry is going to go through a very tough time over the next 12 to 18 months as it recovers from the recent POMS outbreak (in Tasmania) but we’re confident with the appropriate support and our positive reforms the industry will come out on the other side even stronger,” Mr Marshall said.

Simon Turner

Simon Turner

SAOGA board member and oyster grower Simon Turner, pictured, said the plan would be a good thing for growers.

“It won’t be something for everyone but it would be great.”

The Liberals would also review Primary Industries and Regions SA’s cost recovery policy across all fisheries, in an attempt to reduce the overall cost and red tape burden on the fisheries industry. 

“At the moment industry members are dissatisfied with the current cost recovery model as it lacks transparency and they believe they are subsidising a disproportionate amount of PIRSA’s overheads,” Mr Marshall said.