Swift Action Needed to Assist Fishers

The Morrison Government must act swiftly to assist commercial fishers whose incomes have been smashed by the global coronavirus outbreak, says federal Lyons Labor MP Brian Mitchell.

“The Seafood Industry Council has laid out in stark terms the bleak situation facing many fishers, including in Tasmania, as a result of key export markets drying up as a result of the coronavirus outbreak,” said Mr Mitchell, the deputy chair of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources.

“I note that Prime Minister Morrison today said he would reveal an economic assistance package before the May Budget. With the greatest respect, that is 8 weeks away and fishers can’t wait that long to pay their bills and put food on the table.

“Measures the Government could take immediately include extending the Farm Household Assistance Allowance to fishers, and ensuring that staff and crew get immediate access to Newstart. The FHHA is a payment designed to assist primary producers facing hardship, and it is clear that commercial fishers fit the category.

“On behalf of Tasmania’s fishing industry which has been walloped by the coronavirus outbreak, I urge the Prime Minister to offer immediate assistance, and not wait till the Budget.”