21 October 2021

Robbie Katter MP, Nick Dametto MP, Townsville barramundi farmer Tim Bade (fluro shirt) and C Bar Café and Restaurant owner Allan Pike (black shirt) at the launch of the Seafood Country-of-Origin Labelling (CoOL) Bill

Ahead of National Barramundi Day tomorrow (October 22), Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Leader and Member for Traeger Robbie Katter has launched his Food (Labelling of Seafood) Amendment Bill 2021.

This Bill, set to be introduced into the Queensland Parliament next week, will make it mandatory for the State’s dining venues to declare whether their seafood, including barramundi, prawns, and calamari, has been imported.

Under current Federal legislation it is compulsory for all Australian supermarkets to identify origins of seafood on packaging.

However, this does not extend to take-away shops, cafes, or restaurants.

As a result, around half of Australians (often incorrectly) assume the seafood they buy is Aussie despite 70 per cent of all seafood eaten in Australia being imported.

Mr Katter said the Bill was all about supporting local jobs and industries, which was at the heart of the KAP’s values.

“It’s about consumer choices, we are not wanting to force businesses to do anything another than provide people an awareness regarding where the seafood they purchase and eat is from,” he said.

“When this Bill goes through the Parliament we are looking for support from Liberal and Labor to help the Australian fishing industry and also help our consumers make informed choices.

“It’s ridiculous to me that we buy fish and seafood from overseas that don’t have the same standards as the Australian industries and the majority of the time we are unaware.

“I think most Australians would want to know where the seafood that they are buying is from.”

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto backed Mr Katter’s stance and said he believed the legislation was a step in the right direction for his electorate.

“If it’s mandatory for supermarkets to include the country of origin on their packaging then it’s only fair to make it compulsory for all retailers as it provides transparency for consumers,” he said.

“North Queenslanders love to support locals, and that is evident with the number of successful ‘buy local’ community-driven initiatives such as Shop The Hinchinbrook Way and Support Local Townsville.

“Most consumers make an ethical decision on where their fruit, vegetables and seafood are coming from; people like to purchase Australian sourced and produced products.

“Labelling seafood will allow people to continue creating local employment opportunities that support all elements of our economy.”

Australian Barramundi Farmers Association CEO Jo-Anne Ruscoe said National Barramundi Day was all about showcasing homegrown barramundi and supporting Aussie barra famers who work hard to provide Australians with tasty, high-quality and sustainably-farmed fish.

“With 60 per cent of barramundi eaten in this country being imported from Asia, we use this day to encourage Australians to ask for Aussie barra, to support local producers and simply to celebrate this amazing fish,” she said.

“While supermarkets are required to inform shoppers if their seafood is imported or Australian, when you order barramundi or any seafood – in a restaurant or a fish and chip shop – there is no obligation to tell you where that fish is from.

“With 70 per cent of seafood eaten in this country being imported, we believe Queenslanders want and deserve the information to make informed choices – no matter where they buy their seafood.

“This Bill can give Queenslanders that information and we are in full support”.


Nick Dametto MP