Albanese Government delivers for consumers and Australian fishing industry

Yesterday's meeting of Consumer Affairs Ministers locks in a requirement for Australian seafood to be labelled on menus in restaurants, cafes and clubs.

Seafood country of origin labelling will ensure that Australians will always know whether the seafood meal they purchase is from Australia or overseas.

Latest figures suggest more than 60 per cent of seafood bought by Australians is imported, and this is increasing every year. However, there is no consistent country-of-origin information available in hospitality settings for Australians to make informed decisions.

The fishing and seafood industry has been fighting for this reform for over 15 years. The industry employs 17,000 Australians, almost all in regional areas on trawlers or in processing and wholesale.

The Australian-Imported-Mixed (AIM) model is a practical and low-cost approach that strikes the right balance between improving consumer information while minimising business costs and impacts.

The AIM model has broad support from consumers, industry and government stakeholders and is estimated to have a positive net benefit.

The model will be introduced in 2025, after a suitable transition period and an education campaign. Over the coming months, advice will become available to help the hospitality and seafood sectors understand and adjust to these new requirements.

Quotes attributable to Assistant Minister for Manufacturing and Assistant Minister for Trade, Senator Tim Ayres:

“The Albanese Labor Government has delivered on its commitment to improve seafood labelling across the country.

“The Australian-Imported-Mixed model is a simple and practical approach that strikes the right balance between informing consumers while minimising costs to businesses.

"I appreciate the extensive contributions of the hospitality sector, consumer interest groups and the seafood industry in developing this proposal.”

Quotes attributable to Seafood Industry Australia CEO Veronica Papacosta:

“Consumers should have the right to make informed choices about the food they purchase and consume.

“Adopting Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) legislation for seafood sold in food service will enhance consumer awareness, support the Australian seafood industry, create jobs, and have positive economic impacts, as evidenced by a cost-benefit analysis conducted on behalf of the Australian Government.

“With 62 per cent of seafood consumed in Australia being imported, it is imperative that consumers dining out have access to clear and accurate information about the origin of the seafood they are served. This information is critical for supply chain transparency and informed choices.”