Farmers reliant on airfreight will have continued access to key international export markets, with a $240 million funding injection to help keep international freight routes and flights operating.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the funding would extend support under the International Freight Assistance Mechanism until the end of the year.
“This temporary measure has provided an export lifeline to thousands of farmers, fishers and other exporters around Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr McCormack said.
“With few international passenger flights at present, restoring supply chains has been vital to maintaining relationships between exporters and their customers around the world.
“The Midfield Group in Warrnambool, Victoria, has been one of many beneficiaries of these freight flights, exporting high quality lamb to the Middle East.”
Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said this was a major win for Australian farmers.
“We’re backing our farmers by making sure they can continue to get more of their high-quality product into overseas markets,” Mr Littleproud said.
“Keeping our farmers connected with their established international customers will help them keep their operations going so they can keep producing a top quality export product and enhance their reputation as a reliable partner.”
Federal Assistant Fisheries Minister Jonathon Duniam said IFAM had been critical to getting the Australian seafood industry back on its feet.
“Under this program we’ve already helped get over $500 million worth of Australian seafood from almost every state and territory out of the water and on to planes,” Senator Duniam said.
“This funding extension locks in ongoing support for the thousands of fishers, divers, deckhands and processors that underpin our world-renowned premium-quality seafood industry.”
Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said this temporary program had already helped secure carriage of more than 36,000 tonnes of exports to 50 key international destinations.
“With international travel restrictions expected to remain in place for the foreseeable future, our exporters and key importers will continue to face significant barriers,” Senator Birmingham said.
“These freight flights have been critical to getting produce out the door during these tough times and helping to keep our exporters in business and connected to their hard-won established global customers.
“A key feature of IFAM has been the logistical and administrative support for international freight movements by aggregating cargo loads, negotiating with airlines and dealing with partner governments to facilitate clearances and improve transparency of freight costs during the pandemic.”
For more information on IFAM, visit: www.austrade.gov.au/ifam