Communique—22 May 2020
Primary Industries Ministers discuss COVID-19
Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers met via teleconference on 22 May 2020 to discuss COVID-19 matters. Senator the Hon Jonathon Duniam, Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries chaired in place of the Hon. David Littleproud MP.
Ministers provided status updates on their jurisdictional responses to COVID-19 and plans for recovery.
Ministers were updated by Senator Duniam about the recent announcement of additional freight flights through the International Freight Assistance Mechanism connecting Hobart and Sydney twice a week. These flights will assist Tasmania’s seafood and produce industries in connecting with export markets.
State and Territory members raised a range of broader issues including the potential for future labour shortages with implications for upcoming harvest seasons, export market and trade issues (including the Chinese tariff on Australian barley), the Onshore Biosecurity Levy, Cucumber Green Mottle Mosaic Virus, the Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate, support for animal exhibitors, and freight.
Mr Mark Tucker, Senior Agriculture Industry Engagement Officer, provided an update on the current status of communication, workforce, access to markets and inputs, movement across borders, targeted financial assistance and operating practices to meet health requirements, across primary industries.
Ministers noted a paper on current and emerging biosecurity impacts. Despite current pressure points on the system as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, core surveillance programs to protect Australia’s human, animal and plant health continue.