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Oyster Businesses to Receive Assistance Following Disease Outbreak

29 January 2013

AUSTRALIA - New South Wales Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson has announced an assistance package for Hawkesbury oyster businesses affected by an outbreak of Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS) as part of her visit to the region with local Gosford MP Chris Holstein.

Ms Hodgkinson said the Hawkesbury oyster industry produces 50 per cent of Pacific oysters in NSW and these measures will help ease the burden of this unfortunate occurrence.

“Affected oyster growers suffering financial hardship can apply to have their licence fees waived for a period of 12 months to help rebuild their businesses and finances,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

“Those growers who do not qualify for the fee waiver can apply for a payment plan to pay fees over a longer period of time.

“Compliance provisions, apart from navigational safety issues, will also be relaxed. “Growers will have additional time to consider their future business options with the lease renewal period extended.

“Those who determine that they will no longer continue in the oyster industry will have their surrender fee waived. This will be available for three years.

“To assist growers during the clean-up phase, I am encouraging councils to provide assistance for tipping fees for growers disposing of oyster shells.

“This package has been developed with the co-operation of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Department of Primary Industries, Centrelink, Rural Financial Counsellors, Gosford Council and Hornsby Council.

“The NSW Government is committed to supporting the State’s oyster industry and this is the first step on the road to recovery for the Hawkesbury producers,” Ms Hodgkinson said. Growers seeking assistance should contact John Stubbs, Chair of Broken Bay Oyster Association on 0404 833 194.

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