The Government has failed to protect the marine products industry and has no plans to do so, the head of the Marine Products Association has said.
MPA CEO Alan Fenton said he believed the Government’s proposed new Marine Products Directive would result in a “dramatic increase” in prices for consumers.
“We don’t believe the Government is seriously considering how the industry could be protected from the proposed regulations,” Mr Fenton told ABC Radio Melbourne.
He said he hoped the Government would focus on the issues of protection of the environment and safety and not worry about the “petty issues” such as the cost of protection.
Under the proposed new Directive, the Government will have the power to ban imports of products made from Australian waters unless they meet certain requirements, including the requirement that they comply with Australian regulations.
The new directive will allow the Government to impose a ban on products made on the Australian mainland.
It also includes a prohibition on certain products that are not listed in the International Trade Classification (ITC) of the World Trade Organisation.
Mr Fenton, who was speaking at a conference in Sydney, said he had a number of concerns about the proposed regulation.
For example, he said, the existing regulations only cover marine products manufactured on the mainland.
He said the proposed Directive would also have an impact on other marine products such as seaweed, squid, shrimp and fish.
Australia’s marine products sector employs more than 1,000 people and has been growing rapidly, with demand expected to triple over the next decade.
In the meantime, Mr Fonthons comments have been echoed by other marine industry groups and retailers, including The Australian Retailers Association. AAP