A better go for fish farmers
THE Queensland government is making a move to slash red tape stunting the growth of small businesses in the aquaculture industry, businesses like Daintree Saltwater Barramundi.
With only 11 per cent of the nation’s aquaculture production occurring in Queensland and with a recognised potential for growth, the government has enlisted the Queensland Competition Authority to identify regulatory reforms to boost growth in the local industry.
Slashing red tape will provide an opportunity to diversify and expand the local industry, which has been welcomed by Daintree Saltwater Barramundi Farm owner and manager Mark Hober.
‘‘It’s a positive thing for the whole industry, whether it’s expansion or day to day running of the farm - policies need to be made easier as they are costing us money and putting a strain on all business,’’ he said.
‘‘There are also other environmental parameters, they have us bottle-necked with constraints on our businesses with fees we have to pay.
‘‘Queensland is an ideal state to grow the aquaculture industry. Obviously we have got the best water in the world, look at us right beside the river, we have a good water pump and a good technique in treating water before releasing it into the environment.’’
Mr Hober said although they are a sustainable industry, slashing red tape will help them become a viable industry and enable growth for small businesses.
‘‘Smaller farms need to get bigger for economies of scale but they haven’t been allowed to because of bureaucracy and red tape, so if we cut all that, small farms can get bigger and provide more produce for domestic needs,’’ he said.
‘‘Currently we import more farm products than we can produce, so it’s up to the people if they would rather eat imported product or something locally grown in our backyard.
‘‘I’m a small farm that could certainly double or triple and become very viable and look after the needs of Australia, we have three hectares of production on a land mass of 49 hectares, so we have plenty of room for expansion that will not impact on the environment. CSIRO has done studies on the Reef and fish farms in general do not cause any damage, it’s a well proven fact there is no environmental impacts by aqua farmers.’’
The QCA will consult with stakeholders and government, and examine how other state regulate their industries and consider introducing a single Act to regulate the industry like South Australia and ensure there is a balance of environmental, biosecurity and economic priortities.
The inquiry will commence in November, for more information or to register your interest email aquaculture@ qca. org. au or go to www.qca.org.au