The Palaszczuk Labor Government needs to step up and help the hundreds of Queensland charter fishing businesses struggling to stay afloat in the COVID-19 lockdown.

LNP Shadow Fisheries Minister Tony Perrett said charter businesses were still having to pay license fees and charges to the Palaszczuk Labor Government despite having their boats tied up.

“Labor are effectively saying ‘charter boat, what charter boat?’” Mr Perrett said.

“Queensland’s charter boating operators have been left high and dry by Labor.

“Labor cannot demand cash from charter boat operators while they are unable to trade.

“With no timeline for winding back restrictions, many of these businesses will simply not have the pay these fishing license fees.

“The LNP is listening to charter fishing operators and we’re calling for an urgent license fee waiver to give these important businesses a chance to survive.

“Given too that Queensland is the only state that doesn’t provide direct grants to small businesses much more needs to be urgently done.

“The State Government’s own Charter Action Plan recognises the benefits this industry provides, especially to regional areas.

“It is extremely disappointing that, just like commercial fishers, most charter boat operators have been overlooked for coronavirus assistance and support.

“There are very real concerns that there won’t be a charter fishing industry left in Queensland unless Labor offers some assistance.

“It’s time for the Fisheries Minister to sit down with charter fishing operators and offer a sensible solution – starting with waiving state license fees and charges while this crisis lasts.”