Tuesday, 17 October 2023
Questions without Notice
Tasmania: Salmon Industry
My question is to the Minister for Trade and Tourism, Senator Farrell. I refer to the minister's recent visit to the great state of Tasmania, where he met with representatives of the salmon industry to discuss the industry hitting a milestone in salmon exports. During the visit, he publicly spoke about how these exports support more than 5,000 Tasmanian workers in the industry, with around 85 per cent of these workers being in regional areas. Can the minister update the Senate on these discussions with the salmon industry and the significant levels of exports which are helping to support these critical Tasmanian jobs?
I thank Senator Urquhart for her question. Senator Urquhart has a very well-deserved reputation as a champion for the over 5,000 Tasmanian workers in the salmon industry. The salmon industry is a critical employer creating jobs across Australia, and Senator Urquhart has been actively engaging with the industry to help support Tasmanian jobs, including in a number of recent meetings on the west coast.
I've had a great affinity with the industry ever since I first visited my uncle Jack, who lived on Cat Island in the middle of Macquarie Harbour. Back then he used to recount rowing his boat out into the harbour to rescue salmon pens that had become loose from their moorings. The industry has come a long way since then. Now the salmon industry contributes $1.36 billion in economic activity to Tasmania.
I'll repeat that for you, Senator Duniam: $1.36 billion of economic activity. During my visit, it was announced that the industry had hit a milestone of $1 billion in cumulative exports over five years. I'll repeat that for you: $1 billion in cumulative exports over five years. This is due to exports nearly doubling in volume and tripling in dollar terms, growing from just under $100 million in 2018-19 to $300 million last year. This is having flow-on benefits across the supply chain to companies like Polyfoam, who I met in Tasmania. They come from Adelaide and make the innovative packaging to export salmon to overseas markets. We want to work with the industry to grow these exports further.
What great news for such an industry, which is creating significant economic activity for Tasmania! Exports are clearly an important part of the industry's future. The minister mentioned the tripling of salmon exports over five years, with the industry recording nearly $300 million in exports last year. How is the industry taking up opportunities to further expand exports and support even more jobs in Tasmania?
I thank Senator Urquhart for her first supplementary question. On my recent visit to Tasmania, I heard how the industry is increasing exports and creating more well-paid Tasmanian jobs. Tasmania now rivals major producers like Norway, Chile and New Zealand, having exported 80,000 tonnes of salmon to 21 countries over the past five years, and the industry is casting its net wide to land more export opportunities. I know that the major salmon producers in Tasmania are working with Austrade to expand their exports. Austrade has taken salmon exporters to important trade shows, introducing international buyers to salmon exporters, and has facilitated inquiries from global customers about the export of Tasmanian salmon. The salmon industry is expanding to new markets and has welcomed the government's approach to diversifying trade opportunities, including by negotiating free trade agreements. (Time expired)
The salmon industry is also benefiting from the Albanese government's trade diversification agenda. How is the work of our government supporting the industry to grow exports and deliver more of these well-paid jobs for Tasmania?
I thank Senator Urquhart for her second supplementary question. The Albanese Labor government's trade diversification strategy is delivering for Australian exporters, including the salmon industry. Salmon companies are taking up opportunities under the Albanese government's trade agreements with India, and exports to India commence this year. Tassel, a fantastic Tasmanian company, Senator Duniam—
Opposition senators: It's Tassal.
Tassal—okay, I'll agree with that—recently announced it had already exported 30 tonnes of salmon to India and has a goal of reaching 100 tonnes over the next 12 months. These same companies will be looking to the Albanese government's South-East Asia economic strategy and seeing even more opportunities to export high-quality salmon to consumers across the region.
Labor's trade diversification strategy is growing exports in important sectors, and we want to see more exports because more exports mean more well-paid jobs. (Time expired)