News and Views

Emergency assistance for prawn disease response

The response to the outbreak of white spot disease in Queensland’s south-east will be boosted by up to $1.74 million in federal funding.Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said funds had been allocated for a range of activities, including up to $400,000 in support for farmers as well as strengthening the prawn industry’s biosecurity capability and managing response costs.

“White spot disease first reared its head in prawn farms in Queensland at the end of November. Both my department and the state authorities have been working around the clock since then to contain and eradicate the disease and to save our valuable prawn farming industry,” Minister Joyce said.

“Just before Christmas, my department received applications for emergency assistance funding from the Queensland Government, the Australian Prawn Farmers’ Association (AFPA) and the Queensland Seafood Industry Association (QSIA).

“The applications have been assessed and the Coalition Government has announced that it will provide up to $1.74 million under its rapid response funding, which was bolstered by the Coalition’s Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, to assist with response costs and future preparedness activities.”

“I know that prawn farmers have provided unconditional support to the Queensland Government’s response to the disease. That cooperation is essential, but it comes at a cost and the welfare of Australian farmers must always be front of mind.

“That is why the Coalition Government is making up to $400,000 of direct support available to prawn farmers to cover costs incurred as part of the Queensland Government’s response. We are also engaging with the Queensland Government and the prawn industry on a broader cost sharing arrangement to assist in managing the response.