Joint media release

  • Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate
  • Senator the Hon Jonathon Duniam, Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries 
  • The Hon Melissa Price MP, Minister for Defence Industry, Federal Member for Durack
16 April 2020

Western Australia’s rock lobster industry has received a major boost with the Morrison Government helping to secure an agreement that will see around 500 tonnes of local rock lobster headed for China.

Under the new agreement, Western Australia’s Geraldton Fisherman’s Co-operative will pack 18 flights full of Western rock lobster onto planes out of Perth over the next two months.

Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said the new agreement would be a job saver for an industry that had been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis.

“This will be a lifeline for the industry. These flights will help get WA’s rock lobster industry back-on-track,” Minister Birmingham said.

“We recognise the current crisis is placing immense pressure on Western Australia’s seafood exporters, many of whom felt the earliest impacts when overseas demand began to dry up.

“With demand from China starting to pick-up again, it’s crucial our fishers can get their high-quality product back into these export markets so we can keep more Western Australians in jobs and generate extra export dollars for the state.”

Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Jonno Duniam said this was another great example of how the $110 million International Freight Assistance Mechanism was ensuring that the hard-hit and critical fisheries sector could build a bridge to recovery.

“Like so many in the fisheries industry, the Geraldton Fishermen’s Co-operative was up against the wall, when orders from China stopped almost overnight in January,” Assistant Minister Duniam said.

“Without this support, the Co-operative was faced with standing-down hundreds of highly-skilled fishers, crew and staff. Now, this critical regional employer and icon of the West can carry-on supporting local jobs and doing the fishing industry proud.”

Federal Member for Durack Melissa Price said she welcomed the swift response from the Morrison Government.

“This will keep many family businesses in Durack afloat and many local people employed in a much valued west coast industry,” Minister Price said.

This initiative is part of the Government’s $1 billion Relief and Recovery Fund to support regions, communities and industry sectors that have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

For more information, refer to the International Freight Assistance Mechanism fact sheet [PDF].