The Australian Parliament’s Northern Australia Committee today tabled its report on expanding aquaculture in the Top End, titled Scaling Up. The Inquiry examined the current state of aquaculture in Northern Australia, the regulatory framework, and opportunities for further developing the industry in the region.
On release of the report, Mr Warren Entsch MP, Committee Chair stated, ‘The Committee has made a series of recommendations which will assist expansion of aquaculture in Northern Australia and boost the economy in the region.’
The report’s recommendations include:
• The establishment of an Australian Pearling Industry Recovery Taskforce to fund a research program focussed on identifying the causative agent of the oyster oedema disease and possible remedial actions to mitigate the impacts of the disease.
• The Fisheries Research and Development Corporation should consider introducing a ‘northern node’ as an avenue for providing funding research relevant to Northern Australia.
• The Department of the Environment, in collaboration with the Queensland Government, should fund a program to review and expand the science relating to the environmental impact of aquaculture in areas adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef.
• The Department of the Environment and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority should support the Queensland Government in identifying suitable areas to implement aquaculture development zones.
• The Australian Government should provide funding assistance for developing road and port infrastructure to service the Kimberley Aquaculture Development Zone and Project Sea Dragon in the Northern Territory subject to establishing a positive cost-benefit analysis.
• The Australian Government should provide funding assistance for the establishment of a pest and disease diagnosis facility in northern Queensland.
• The Australian Government, through the Council of Australia Governments, should remove the exemption from country of origin labelling requirements under Standard 1.2.11 of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code for cooked or pre-prepared seafood sold by the food services industry.
The report is available from the Committee’s website at: http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/Northern_Australia