Regulatory reform to promote the growth of Queensland’s aquaculture industry will be the focus of a public inquiry by the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA).
“Queensland has a successful aquaculture industry, especially in prawn and barramundi farming, but it seems to have much greater, untapped potential,” said QCA chairman Malcolm Roberts.
“Queensland accounts for just 11 per cent of aquaculture production in Australia. By most measures, such as value of production and exports, Queensland lags Tasmania and South Australia.
“There are likely to be opportunities to diversify the local industry as well as expand its traditional strengths,” said Mr Roberts.
The State Government has recognised the potential for growth in Queensland aquaculture and has asked the QCA to identify regulatory reforms which could boost growth in the local industry.
“One possible reform is the introduction of a single Act to regulate the industry, as is the case in South Australia. The QCA will examine closely how other States regulate their industries to ensure that Queensland has best practice regulation.
“The QCA understands that regulation of aquaculture has to balance environmental, biosecurity and economic priorities. In early discussions, businesses have stressed that a healthy environment and effective biosecurity are essential to their industry.
“The QCA will consult widely during the review with all stakeholders to ensure that its recommendations strike the right balance.
“Local, State and Commonwealth governments all regulate aspects of the Queensland industry.
In particular, the Commonwealth’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has major regulatory responsibilities.
“The QCA will work closely with governments to simplify the layers of regulation wherever possible,” said Mr Roberts.
The QCA inquiry will commence in November and report to government by September 2014.
The terms of reference for the inquiry are available on the QCA website.