Oyster growers want a 'fair go'

THE South Australian Oyster Growers Association is calling for a "fair go" by asking the state government to contribute more funding to quality assurance programs.

The South Australian Oyster Growers Association is calling for a "fair go" by asking the state government to contribute more funding to quality assurance programs.

The South Australian Oyster Growers Association is calling for a "fair go" by asking the state government to contribute more funding to quality assurance programs.

Association president Jill Coates said the industry had been "swept up in an era of cost recovery by government".

She said in recent years, government support had waned and said her industry could not "take comfort in any of the legislated or tax initiatives, which are in place to support the tough times or even appropriate succession planning".

"We are in times of user pays and we certainly pay."

She said in the last few years, the industry had faced a threefold increase in the regulatory cost of leasing and licensing.

That is in addition, she said, to (the oyster) industry shouldering most of the cost of the Shellfish Quality Assurance Program.

She said the industry highly valued this water testing program, because it promoted consumer confidence in shellfish.

"The oyster industry does not contribute to the need for such testing.

"We have no inputs, we rely on nature alone."

She said since the oyster industry's marketing benefited from the testing, and therefore it was willing to contribute to costs.

"Just how much is the question?

"We don't seek handouts, simply a level playing field and a fair go."

She said the industry was asking for the government to recognise the "significant public good" that came from the testing, and fund it accordingly.

In response, Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Minister Gail Gago said the state government, at the industry's request, had sought an independent review into the efficiency of the South Australian Shellfish Quality Assurance Program and its costs, and was awaiting the results.

This story Oyster growers want a 'fair go' first appeared on Port Lincoln Times.

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