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Aquaculture a potential boom industry for nation's north

29 May 2020

Joint media release with the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, the Hon Karen Andrews MP, Assistant Minister for Northern Australia, the Hon Michelle Landry MP, Member for Herbert, Phillip Thompson MP, and Senator for Queensland Susan McDonald.

Northern Australia’s aquaculture industry has the potential to generate thousands of new jobs and increase the value of its production to more than $1.3 billion, according to the findings of a new study.

The study, by the CRC for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA), found the industry could increase its current production value five-fold and create more than 2,000 new jobs across the north within 10 years.

The Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews welcomed the report’s findings, which provides a vision for the future for the whole northern Australian aquaculture industry.

“The growth of the aquaculture industry in the north will create many new jobs at a range of skill levels over the coming decade, which is great news for anyone living in this part of the country,” Minister Andrews said.

“Forecasts of new jobs and a boost in revenue for industries like this are very welcome as the economy continues to deal with the effects of COVID-19.”

James Cook University led the 12-month study and worked with more than 400 industry stakeholders and representatives.

One of the report’s six key recommendations is to build the northern Australian aquaculture industry as a means for Indigenous economic development and independence.

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said the enormous potential of the region’s aquaculture industry was exciting news for the region.

“According to the findings, northern Australia boasts 700,000 hectares of suitable marine farming area, and as much as 50 times that is available for freshwater operations,” Minister Pitt said.

“Having a strategic industry plan will help the sector and the Government to attract investment in commercially viable projects, which will be a boost for the nation’s north.”

Assistant Minister for Northern Australia, Michelle Landry said it delivers a comprehensive assessment of the future of the NA aquaculture sector in Queensland, Northern Territory and northern Western Australia.

“It’s the first time a study has captured the whole northern Australian aquaculture sector, including significant opportunities for Traditional Owners,” Minister Landry said.

The keys to success, according to the study, will be matching the right species, systems, infrastructure and market accessibility with the right investors and financial structures.”

Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson congratulated James Cook University on its work carrying out the study.

“We know we have world-class education and research on our doorstep here in Townsville so it’s great that James Cook University has been able to drive this study,” Mr Thompson said.

“The prospect of 2,000 jobs that could be created by this industry – backed up by evidence – is extremely encouraging for our region.”

North Queensland-based Senator, Susan McDonald, praised the work of the CRCNA and JCU as highlighting the true potential of the North.

“In just the past six months, CRCNA has published papers on undercover cropping, it is conducting spice crop trials, and its reports into forestry and now aquaculture are exemplary,” Senator McDonald said.

“Uniting with the academic firepower JCU provides to helping the tropics thrive is crucial to assisting governments make sound policy decisions and I am extremely impressed with the quality, scope and frequency of the work being produced.”

To find out more about the study and the six key recommendations, visit www.crcna.com.au

Media contacts: Minister Pitt's office 6277 7180
                              Minister Andrews' office 02 6277 7070
                              Minister Landry's office 6277 4283