MEDIA RELEASE - Nationals fail to support NSW Fishers and primary producers

The Nationals have refused to back NSW fishers, after failing to support Labor’s draft Seafood Country of Origin Labelling laws. These laws would have given local fishers a leg up on cheap foreign imports – but the Nationals still have time to make it right. Labor’s draft Seafood Country of Origin laws would make sure that diners in NSW restaurants, clubs and takeaway food shops can see exactly where the fish they’re buying is from – giving them the opportunity to buy locally caught fish and support local fishers. The Nationals told Parliament this week that they wouldn’t back the proposed laws. Labor Shadow Minister for Primary Industries, Jenny Aitchison MP said “Given the choice, I think most people in NSW would choose to buy locally caught fish. But the Nationals refuse to back local fishers.” “The Northern Territory has done it and the Queensland LNP has advocated for it - even the NSW Nationals and Liberals promised it back in 2016. But the NSW Nationals and Liberals have failed to deliver on this or their long promised industry marketing packages.” “It’s disgraceful that in fish and chip shops across NSW, we see collateral from the Queensland Government promoting Australian seafood but nothing from the NSW Government.” “In May 2016 the Nationals promised to introduce a similar Bill and to back local fishers, but more than three years later the Nationals have abandoned local fishers in favour of cheap foreign imports” “The Nationals have backflipped on this twice now. They said yesterday they wouldn’t support country of origin labelling for seafood in restaurants because it might make people more inclined to eat other protein sources like chicken or beef.” “What’s wrong with that? We want people to support all our local Australian primary producers, no matter whether they get poultry, beef, pork, lamb or our fish.” “Whether from the land or the ocean, shouldn’t the Nationals encourage consumers to choose locally sourced protein from Australian primary producers, rather than imported seafood masquerading as Australian barramundi?” Labor Member for the Entrance David Mehan MP who introduced the Bill said: “Country of origin labelling is now mandatory in Australia in retail shops but not in restaurants, clubs and takeaway food shops, where a large part of our seafood is consumed.” “This Bill would plug a very big hole in the information supplied to consumers.” “It would ensure that when we order barramundi from a restaurant or at our local fish and chip shop, we do so knowing whether it is imported or sourced from Australian waters.” “Consumers will know whether they are supporting the professional fishing men and women of this State and this country.” “When it comes to supporting NSW Seafood, the Nationals have once again failed to support a Bill that has strong support in the seafood industry and community.” Labor Member for the Entrance, David Mehan MP first tried to introduce seafood country of origin labelling in 2017.

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