The Australian Government has declared two Rockhampton region sites as prime targets to play a part in Queensland’s booming aquaculture industry, in a media statement published yesterday.
Investment, Jobs and Growth
Member for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke said the announcement included more than 3700 hectares of land in the Rockhampton region.
“Including sites at Casuarina Creek and Raglan Creek puts the Rockhampton region at the forefront of Queensland’s aquaculture future,” O’Rourke said.
“That means investment for our region, leading to more jobs for local people.
“This is the sort of vision that our region needs, one that will grow the jobs we need in the future.”
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner today announced six land-based marine Aquaculture Development Areas (ADAs).
“The Queensland Government supports the future development and growth of an ecologically sustainable, diverse and innovative aquaculture industry,” Mr Furner said.
Booming Aquaculture, Booming Economy
“Our proximity to Asian markets, reputation for quality seafood and increased demand for Australian native fish species means Queensland is well-positioned to produce high value aquaculture products.
“Identifying areas suitable for aquaculture development is an important initiative to grow the industry, and will bring more jobs in a stronger regional Queensland economy.
“In 2016-17, aquaculture was a $120 million industry, employing more than 530 Queenslanders full-time.”
Mr Furner said the ADAs will help identify areas with potential for land-based marine aquaculture development and provide investors with a list of locations suitable for projects.
“Investors will not be limited to the identified areas and will still have the option to explore other parts of Queensland for land-based marine aquaculture development,” Mr Furner said.
“The sites were identified in consultation with industry, government and affected landholders and would have the least environmental impact and land-use constraints for operating an aquaculture business.”
Protecting the Environment; Reef Conservation
Minister for State Development, Manufacturing Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the ADAs provide a strong starting point for local government in considering the most appropriate locations for the industry along the Queensland Coast, as required by the State Planning Policy.
“As custodians of the Great Barrier Reef, the Government needs to take steps to ensure that growing aquaculture is done in a way that will protect the environment and the Reef at the same time,” Mr Dick said.
“Through better planning upfront for aquaculture and looking at innovative technologies and approaches, we can minimise the environmental impacts while growing this important industry.”
The Government has also announced four other sites as Aquaculture Development Areas:
Location and Local Government Area
Sleeper Log Creek / Leichhardt Creek Townsville City Council
Abbot Bay / Good Fortune Bay Whitsunday Regional Council
Bloomsbury Mackay Regional Council
Gladstone/Calliope River Gladstone Regional Council
Developing Land-Based Facilities
Mr Furner said the ADAs focus on coastal areas suitable for cultivating a range of marine species in ponds that have access to seawater.
“Species suitable for land-based marine aquaculture could include prawns and marine fin fish such as the iconic Queensland barramundi or cobia,” he said.
“The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries will work with potential investors interested in setting up within the Aquaculture Development Areas which provide an opportunity for research and development and best practice management, particularly around minimising discharge into Queensland waterways.”
ADAs Streamline Approval Process
Having the ADAs included in the state interest agriculture guideline of the State Planning Policy will support local Councils to consider them in their own planning schemes.
Formal approvals will still be required for any developments, but the ADAs are considered the most suitable for development which will help streamline the approval process.
The identification of ADAs was part of the Queensland Government’s response to a review by the Queensland Competition Authority on aquaculture regulation to facilitate the expansion of aquaculture in Queensland.
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