COVID-19 support leads to investment and jobs in Cairns

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries The Honourable Mark Furner

A Cairns commercial fishing business that exports live coral trout will receive a $44,000 economic recovery grant from the Queensland Government to weather the COVID-19 storm.

And the business has invested further in its future and added new jobs with the help of a COVID-19 Jobs Support Loan.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said Product North Pty Ltd successfully applied for a share of the $500,000 Market Diversification and Resilience Grant Program.

“The Queensland Government is working closely with industry on the economic recovery of the agriculture and fisheries sectors, including agribusiness exporters who support thousands of jobs,” Mr Furner said.

“A $44,000 project grant for vessel modifications will allow the business to diversify and capture markets for live fish as well as fresh and frozen seafood products.

“Product North which is a small family-run fishing operation with 11 employees, is a prime example of a Queensland agribusiness building resilience and finding opportunity from adversity.”

Member for Cairns Michael Healy said Product North was one of 319 Cairns businesses supporting more than 3500 jobs thanks to COVID-19 Jobs Support Loans.

“Like other economies around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic hit Queensland businesses hard,” Mr Furner said.

“We are continuing to manage the health response well and that means we can continue to deliver Queensland’s plan for economic recovery.

“These loans represent a $46.7million injection into the Cairns economy to support jobs that might otherwise have been lost.”

Mr Furner said COVID-19 Jobs Support Loans have supported more than 86,000 jobs with almost $1billion in loans directly to Queensland businesses.

Company Director Leonie Stiff said the fishing business exported most of its annual catch of up to 45,000 kilograms of live coral trout before the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our export markets for live coral trout are currently very limited and the storage tanks on board our vessel are only suitable for holding live fish,” Mrs Stiff said.

“With funding support from the Queensland Government, we can install dual-purpose storage tanks and this will allow us to easily change from live export product to fresh or frozen, depending on what the market is doing.”

More than 150 businesses applied for the first round of the Market Diversification and Resilience Grants Program for COVID-19 affected exporters – part of the Queensland Government’s $27.25 million coronavirus industry economic recovery package.

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