On Friday 14 December, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a $5 million package over three years to be shared among local organisations to relieve costs of keeping Australia free of White Spot.
Queensland’s continuing efforts to control and contain White Spot mean uncooked prawns, including those used for bait, are unable to be moved outside of the affected area until they are treated. Besides the ongoing loss of interstate business for SE Qld bait fishers, all bait held in store at the time of the outbreak could not be sold.
The funding will also be used to educate commercial and recreational fishers on the risk of not using commercial bait, for example prawns for human consumption bought from the supermarket.
ACPF Chair Annie Jarrett and QSIA CEO Eric Perez attended the Prime Minister’s launch of the announcement. The ACPF welcomes the Government’s investment in education but will continue to urge the Government as part of the Prawn Import Risk Assessment review that education about the biosecurity dangers of using non-commercial bait should not be used as the last line of defence to protect Australian waters.
ACPF welcomes the funding assistance for the bait industry and commends the Liberal National Party for addressing the issue.