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April 10, 2017

In an extraordinary act of arrogance, the Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce has asked the devastated Queensland prawn industry to help pay for his own Government’s mistakes on White Spot Disease.

On the 31 March 2017, Barnaby Joyce wrote to the Australian Prawn Farmers Association (APFA), proposing to split, three ways, the cost of fixing his mess - between the Federal Government, the Queensland Government and the APFA.

All evidence received by a Senate inquiry into the White Spot outbreak to date suggests it was caused by biosecurity failures by the Federal Government.

Now, Barnaby Joyce has the hide to ask the very prawn farmers who have lost millions of dollars to pay even more, to fix his own mistakes.

This is just another example of the Turnbull Government shirking responsibility on biosecurity.

Barnaby is very happy to grandstand for the world media about Johnny Depp's dogs, but when a real biosecurity crisis occurs, he wants to spread the blame.

The Senate inquiry has already established that the Federal Government knew, in the middle of 2016, that biosecurity breaches were occurring with the importation of prawns.

Today, the inquiry heard that the APFA raised concerns about an outbreak with Federal officials eighteen months before the outbreak. And yet the Turnbull Government did nothing.

The result? Millions of dollars lost from the Queensland economy and our prawn farming industry devastated.

And now instead of taking responsibility for their stuff up, they’re trying to force the prawn farming industry to help cover the costs. What a rort.


Today's hearing also heard that other seafood producers, who have also lost out from the outbreak, are still waiting for a firm offer of assistance from the Federal Government.

It’s clear that Australia’s biosecurity under Barnaby Joyce is as leaky as Tony Abbott.

We’ve seen it with red imported fire ants, we’ve seen it with yellow crazy ants and now we’re seeing it with White Spot Disease.

The future of Australia’s biosecurity is too important to trust to Barnaby Joyce and the LNP. They should be lending the prawn industry a hand, not asking for a hand out.