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Questions continue around the $10 million equity investment in Australia's Oyster Coast

In early July 2018 Joshua Becker, rural reporter at ABC South East NSW, raised concerns around the announcement of an equity investment of $3.3 million in Australia’s Oyster Coast (AOC) which will see the NSW government take an ownership stake in Australia’s Oyster Coast. There are concerns that such an investment will give unfair advantage and establish a "monopoly" and that the government investment into a competing company using tax payers money is questionable. At the least, oyster farmers who are not members/shareholders of the AOC, are hoping for some transparency and that safeguards are in place to ensure that the monopoly does not build to a cartel. It is feared that the AOC, with its financial security will be able to outbid for spat and for new leases and take control of the industry by controlling the wholesale price of oysters applying pressure to small producers who will not be able to sustain the lower margins as they are forced to bid higher. Background:

Audio sourced from the ABC NSW Country Hour Wednesday 18 July 2018 Recorded and republished under Fair Dealing All copy right remains with ABC You can read Joshua Becker's full ABC Rural report HERE: Small oyster farmers concerned about industry's future after NSW Government investment In May 2019 Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW and Small Business John Barilaro, and Minister for Transport and Infrastructure and Member for Bega Andrew Constance announced an equity investment of $3.3 million in Australia’s Oyster Coast (AOC) - a group of oyster growers based on the NSW South Coast. The NSW Government’s $3.3 million investment is to combine with a $6.7 million co-investment from First State Super as part of the government’s new GO NSW Equity Fund, established with partners First State Super and ROC Partners last year. First State Super is a not-for-profit Australian superannuation fund. It was initially established in 1992 to provide superannuation benefits to New South Wales government employees, but is now open to anyone eligible to receive superannuation. First State Super Chief Investment Officer Damian Graham said at the announcement that the deal was another great outcome from the partnership with the NSW Government. “The investment in Australia’s Oyster Coast reflects our approach to investing in the communities where our members live, work and retire. It will not only deliver returns to our members but will provide capital to help expand an important regional industry on the south coast,” Mr Graham said. Mr Graham said “AOC will use the capital to acquire new leases, invest in new technologies like floating mesh bags to improve productivity and the growth rate of oysters, improve infrastructure, secure a North Coast processing facility and invest in new marketing campaigns.” Member for Bega Andrew Constance said he was pleased the investment will deliver more jobs to Australia’s Oyster Coast.

“AOC has done a fantastic job for the region since it was formed in 2013 by eight local growers. They’ve built a recognised brand for their product and I look forward to seeing the results of this significant backing,” Mr Constance said.

#State #LocalStateFederal #latest #Narooma #BatemansBay #Moruya

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