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Seafood Industry Body Loses Queensland Government Funds

Sustainability Economics Politics +4 more

AUSTRALIA - The Queensland Government has stopped funding the state's seafood industry lobby group to the tune of A$120,000 a year.

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The Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister John McVeigh says it's inappropriate for government to be involved in the politics and administration of industry organisations, reports ABCRural.

"They did ask me about a funding arrangement they had with the former Labour government which appeared to just go into their administration coffers and I'm certainly not keen on continuing that."

The Country Hour has attempted to contact board members of the Queensland Seafood Industry Association but none of the calls have been returned.

Its president Geoff Tilton has tendered a resignation letter and its chief executive officer and four other board members have recently left.

It's understood membership may be as low as six per cent of people in the industry and fishers have expressed concern that outside interests have been driving the organisation.

Mr McVeigh says he also understands there are problems within the QSIA.

"I am quite keen to talk and work with them. It's not my job to fund their administration."

"I have heard plenty about concerns within that organisation and within the industry in general in terms of representation."

"That makes my job a bit harder to liaise with the industry, but liaise is what I'll do."

Mr McVeigh says the government does provide funds to other primary industry bodies, including Growcom, AgForce, Canegrowers and the Queensland Farmers Federation.

"Yes, there is some funding to industry organisations where there is a specific project to aid their members, but certainly not for administration."

He says all allocations are being reviewed.

"The current funding going to any industry organisation that I've been studying in the last couple of months has been based on sound and comprehensive business cases and business plans, regular reporting back to government, which is ensuring the interests of all Queenslanders.

"Provided those principles continue, I am keen to work with every industry and every industry organisation that members want to put forward."

Canegrowers CEO Steve Greenwood says his group only receives funding for specific projects. Mr Greenwood says he understands that the Queensland state government is trying to cut back on spending more broadly, but says he'll be pushing for funding to continue for specific projects that benefit the state and growers.

AgForce president Brent Findlay and the Queensland Farmers Federation have both confirmed they get funding for specific projects as well, but say that's the limit of any state government funding.