Palaszczuk Government injects $7.5 million into booming aquaculture industry

Published Wednesday, 08 March, 2023 at 09:10 AM

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities
The Honourable Mark Furner

  • Minister announces $7.5 million aquaculture investment
  • Half the funding to boost research, development and extension
  • New report shows Qld has hit record aquaculture production of $225M
  • Townsville aquaculture jobs double from 109 to 218
  • Palaszczuk Govt investment and land releases enable industry growth

The Palaszczuk Government will invest an additional $7.5 million into Queensland’s booming aquaculture industry.

Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Minister Mark Furner announced the significant investment at the Ornatas Toomulla Beach Aquaculture Facility today.

The funding will include $3.8 million for research, development and extension activities, $1.5 million for industry development, a $1.1 million program to improve regulation and technical guidance, and $1 million to establish an aquaculture incubator.

It comes as the latest Ross Lobegeiger Report shows the Palaszczuk Government’s strong support for aquaculture is paying dividends for North Queensland, with the number of jobs for Townsville in the booming industry doubling.

The report shows the number of full-time equivalent aquaculture jobs in the Townsville region have rocketed to 218 in 2021-22 – up from 109 in 2020-21.

The Palaszczuk Government has overseen a Queensland aquaculture revolution that has increased the value of the industry by more than $100 million in the three years from 2018-19.

The industry has grown to a record value of $224.7 million in 2021-22, up from the previous record of $193.5 million in 2020-21.

In 2021-22, aquaculture employed the full-time equivalent of 889 Queenslanders, up from 786 the previous financial year.

Quotes attributable to Les Walker, Member for Mundingburra:

“The Palaszczuk Government has attracted this major investment by Ornatas to Townsville, and it’s fantastic to be here at their facility to see the great work they are doing and the jobs they’re creating.

“This is a business that is supporting 30 good, local jobs for Townsville, and it is continuing to grow.

Quotes attributable to Member for Thuringowa, Aaron Harper:

“It’s great to see local aquaculture booming off the back of Palaszczuk Government actions like solid investment, strong biosecurity protections and a focus on sustainable production.

“The Townsville aquaculture industry was worth $19.4 million in the last financial year and is continuing to employ more and more locals.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner:

“From lobster, to redclaw crayfish and barramundi, North Queensland’s aquaculture industry is the ‘reel’ deal, and it’s continuing to attract new investment.

“This $7.5 million Palaszczuk Government investment will mean more industry development and more guidance for our aquaculture businesses.

“Under the Palaszczuk Government, Queensland aquaculture has grown from a fingerling to a big fish.

“We’ve declared more than 9000 hectares of Aquaculture Development Areas across eight land parcels in the last four years.

“We want Queensland to be the aquaculture capital of the world, and our investment will help us to further partner with industry and grow the already world-class reputation of Queensland seafood.”

Quotes attributable to Ornatas CEO Scott Parkinson:

“Ornatas is commercialising world first science and breeding technology for the production and export of premium Tropical Rock Lobsters, building a whole new industry for Australia in lobster aquaculture, starting right here in Queensland.

“Ornatas has invested over $30 million dollars in regional Queensland recognising the proactive Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Palaszczuk Government’s ambitions to significantly grow aquaculture in the state.

“Ornatas has strong industry and research partnerships, an expanding commercial lobster hatchery, including a newly commissioned lobster nursery with the capacity to produce 100,000 lobsters for our grow out operation.

“The next 18 months will see the expansion of our pilot grow out facilities to a commercial farming scale, ready to sell into Asian markets with ever growing demand for premium seafood from sustainable sources.”

Quotes attributable to Ornatas Hatchery and Research & Development Manager Jennifer Blair:

“Only 4 years into our journey we have a highly skilled and diverse team of 30 people working at Ornatas.

“It’s International Women’s Day today, and we are very proud that 50% of our staff are women, operating in a range of different areas of the business.”


You can access the 2021-22 Lobegeiger Report here

Media contact: Bryce Heaton 0427 781 920