Member for Geraldton Ian Blayney has welcomed the Federal Government’s International Freight Assistance Mechanism announced last night as part of a $170 million initiative to support agricultural and fisheries sectors dealing with the impacts of COVID-19.
Having written to the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack last week seeking support for primary producers in WA to re-establish export markets, Mr Blayney is confident freight for fisheries produce will now be able to reach recovering international markets in an affordable manner.
“With this assistance, the fishing industry will be in a better position to stay financially afloat after having been one of the first hit when access to China was restricted in January,” Mr Blayney said.
“The availability and affordability of fisheries produce freight across the supply chain was a major industry concern when traditional export methods were halted after severe passenger travel restrictions came into force earlier this month in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“This package is vital in ensuring that our high value Western Rock Lobster industry are given the confidence and support to re-engage with overseas markets and restore disrupted supply chains.
Mr Blayney has thanked local fisherman for their input during the fisheries forum he hosted in Geraldton with the Deputy Prime Minister earlier this year, stating that their feedback clearly contributed towards the development of the federal initiative.
“I’d like to thank local cray fisherman who were very effective in discussing their concerns with the Deputy PM during his visit to Geraldton,” he said.
“It is clear their contributions have been instrumental in the advance of the International Freight Assistance Mechanism announced last night.
“With the $500 million crayfishing sector playing a critical role in the Geraldton economy, I am hopeful this new Federal initiative will provide encouragement to resilient fishing families who have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as helping to kick-start the industry recovery process.”