Coronavirus impact: Geraldton fishing, tourism ‘all but ground to a halt’

Geoff VivianGeraldton Guardian
Deputy PM Michael McCormack and Nationals MP Ian Blayney met last week with Geraldton businesspeople to discuss the impact of coronavirus.
Camera IconDeputy PM Michael McCormack and Nationals MP Ian Blayney met last week with Geraldton businesspeople to discuss the impact of coronavirus. Credit: Supplied

The State Government is yet to implement a sufficient response to assist businesses hurting from the impact of then COVID-19 virus on tourism and rock lobster fishing, according to Member for Geraldton Ian Blayney.

“The Labor Government has let down Geraldton and the Mid West,” he said.

“As WA’s largest city north of Perth, our economy is largely built on the $500 million crayfish industry and $197 million tourism industry, which have all but ground to a halt since the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Neither the Tourism Minister nor the Fisheries Minister has visited Geraldton since exports of rock lobster to China stopped and mainland Chinese tourist numbers started to dive.”

A spokesperson for Fisheries Minister Peter Tinley said his government responded “very early” to the impact of COVID-19 on WA’s $400 million lobster industry.

“Talks with the Geraldton Fishermen’s Co-operative and the Western Rock Lobster Council resulted in an agreement that they would canvass a range of options and present those that had strong and unified industry support to Government,” he said.

“Those recommendations were delivered and the Minister is currently considering them.”

Tourism Minister Paul Papalia has been contracted for comment.

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