26 Aug OP-ED: Seafood Labelling Bill
At Katter’s Australian Party, we have a full policy agenda and, in the Queensland Parliament, we punch above our weight in the type and volume of legislation we try to put forward because we believe there is a really significant tranche of Queensland that is not being represented by the type of bills the Palaszczuk Labor Government has been pursuing in its three terms.
Some of the legislation we put forward is ambitious and we introduce it less to try and get it passed as law as we do to spark a debate about issues that we believe are important to Queenslanders, particularly those in rural and regional areas.
My Food (Labelling of Seafood) Amendment Bill 2021 – which is due to be debated and voted on next week – was not one such bill.
It wasn’t an “ambitious” bill, it was a no-brainer bill – one so common-sensical that even after developing a pretty strong sense of cynicism after living and breathing politics for the past 10 years, I looked forward to all sides of politics coming together to stamp our support on the side of not only the Queensland, but also the Australian, seafood industries.
At the heart of my bill is better transparency of seafood origins, which is likely to lead to more demand for local seafood, meaning more local jobs, more money for local business, and more growth for Queensland and Australian businesses.
How could one stand, and indeed vote, against that?
You can therefore imagine my surprise and concern to learn that, after going through the Labor-stacked State Development and Regional Industries Committee earlier this year, the Palaszczuk Government would not support the bill.
This surprise was only amplified when previous commentary from the Labor Party on the issue of supporting local seafood was brought to my attention, for example a media release from the Premier and the Minister for Fisheries at Christmas time last year in which they stated, and I quote:
“Let’s put our commercial fishers and aquaculture farmers at the very top of our Christmas ‘nice list’ and stock up on the very best. At your local fish supplier make sure you ask for Queensland seafood.”
Unfortunately, when it comes to the dining sector, Queenslanders cannot make a conscious choice to buy Queensland or even Australian seafood because they are not told the origin of what’s on the menu.
But our Parliament, and Labor, has a chance to change this next week.
Please write to them and ask they support my Food (Labelling of Seafood) Amendment Bill 2021 to give our fishers a fair go and to improve seafood consumer transparency overall.
Robbie Katter MP
Katter’s Australian Party Leader and Member for Traeger