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NSW Treasurer to face blame for pricey Sydney oysters

AUSTRALIA - NSW seafood lovers could face a hike in oyster prices, if the NSW Treasurer continues to delay on providing funding for vital water monitoring, according to the NSW Farmers Association.

NSW Treasurer to face blame for pricey Sydney oysters - AUSTRALIA - NSW seafood lovers could face a hike in oyster prices, if the NSW Treasurer continues to delay on providing funding for vital water monitoring, according to the NSW Farmers Association.

Association President, Mal Peters, says almost 1/3 of NSWs oyster industry could be forced to pull up stumps if growers are made to bear the entire costs of water monitoring which benefits the entire community.

With such a huge exodus from the industry, we expect a decrease in the supply of Sydney Rock Oysters which are unique to NSW. As a result, the average consumer will pay more for Sydney Rock Oysters and Pacific oysters from other states will take over the market.

We are calling on the NSW Treasurer, Dr Andrew Refshauge, to back oyster growers and the future of the states coastal rivers and lakes by providing funding for water quality monitoring, Mr Peters said.

Oyster producers have been involved in water testing since 1997 and they have about 68,000 water quality test results from 30 estuaries along the NSW coast under their belt.

Mr Peters says oyster growers are our coastal river guardians and these tests are used to ensure that water quality is as safe and healthy as it can be.

Another 10,500 test results will be added from July this year and even though the industry and Government have paid for it in the past, growers are now being asked to foot the entire bill.

"With this information still valuable and highly sought after by Local Councils, Catchment Management Authorities and Government Departments, oyster growers are saying the most sensible solution is to share the information and the cost.

Without Government funding of $900,000 and a commitment to review how future costs should be shared, this would not only be a backward step for industry but for everybody who needs the information.

Coastal water quality wouldnt be as good as it is today if it wasnt for the states oyster industry. Its time for the NSW Treasurer to secure the future of this industry and commit funding for a healthy environment for the future," Mr Peters concluded.

Source: NSW Farmers Association - 16th March 2005

the Fish Site Editor

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