MEDIA RELEASE - Government must provide more support to NSW exporters amid growing Chinese trade con

Labor is urging the Government to provide more support for NSW exporters amid mounting trade tensions with China. The Shadow Minister for Industry and Trade Mick Veitch said State Trade Minister John Barilaro must ensure exporters feel protected as the COVID-19 recession hits their businesses. The call follows media reports that China will impose new restrictions on shipments of Australian wine, lobster, sugar, coal, timber, wool, barley and copper. China is a crucial market for NSW primary producers, including commercial fishers. “The Government must work with industry and stakeholders to nurture a productive trade relationship while safeguarding NSW jobs,” Mr Veitch said. “Our exporters are doing it tough due to unavoidable restrictions created by the COVID-19 pandemic. They do not need further agitation as they work towards recovery. “Mr Barilaro must investigate and inform NSW exporters on the work currently being undertaken by the Federal Government to ensure existing trade relationships are secure.”

The State Government created the Exporter Assistance Grant with $10 million available to businesses affected by COVID-19, bushfires or drought. However, a month later, less than 10 per cent of the grant program’s funds have been allocated, totalling $911,151. “These grants should be almost exhausted considering the impact 2020 has had on the economy. Instead the Government seems to hoarding the funds,” Mr Veitch said. “Mr Barilaro should be ensuring NSW exporters know about these grant opportunities and encouraging them to apply. “Like so many of this Government’s grant schemes, the money isn’t getting to the people who need it most.” Shadow Minister for Primary Industries Jenny Aitchison said primary producers had suffered enough and needed urgent help. “After four years of drought, a year of catastrophic bushfires, floods, COVID-19 and now trade impacts, farmers and fishers are at a crisis point,” Ms Aitchison said. “We want NSW agriculture and aquaculture to thrive, but it’s barely surviving with the lack of real assistance from the Liberals and Nationals.”