Labor driving lobster fisherman cray-sea

The Opposition is calling on the Malinauskas Labor Government to act against lobster export tariffs, which continue to cripple South Australia’s seafood industry

Hopes for an end to the rock lobster tariff regime hit a high last month following news China abolished its import tax on Australian wine.

Before the ban in 2020, China consumed 95 per cent of South Australia’s rock lobster stock.

Industry representatives say more than 1000 local jobs are on the line if tariffs continue to be imposed.

Shadow Minister for Trade and Investment, Tim Whetstone, said fisherman need relief from strict tariffs as financial pressure mounts in South Australia with the ongoing cost of living crisis.

“South Australia’s rock lobster industry is on its knees and the Labor Governments, state and federal, must focus on seafood as a priority when it comes to China’s tariffs,” Mr Whetstone said.

“Labor must turn its attention to the $250 million southern rock lobster industry’s export potential back into China.

“The industry provides 1000 full-time jobs in South Australia and our rock lobsters must be put back on international restaurant tables.

“The industry has invested heavily in fishing sustainability with best practices in place – they have done all the right things to move forward.

“Tariffs have been lifted for the wine industry, now we need action for our small family lobster businesses who have been stranded by the state and federal Labor governments.”

Shadow Minister for Primary Industries, Nicola Centofanti, said the negative flow on impacts of China’s tariffs on rock lobster extend further than just fisherman.

“South Australia’s rock lobster industry makes up more than 30 per cent of the state’s seafoods gross product which is worth almost $160 million,” Dr Centofanti said.

“This huge economic force creates and sustains more than 1300 jobs through direct and flow on business with regional South Australians benefitting most.

“Rock lobster is crucial for South Australia’s Primary Industries sector and before the ban China made up to 95 per cent of the state’s export market.

“The abolishment of China’s tariffs, as we’ve seen with South Australian wine, would pave the way to a significant boost for our regional economy and that’s why Labor must make this a priority.”

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