The Australian Government has put together an International Freight Assistance Mechanism, consisting of $110 million, to help Australia’s agriculture and seafood exports get into key markets. It will also consist of flights bringing essential items back into Australia in response to the current pandemic. This will assist producers of high-value exports including seafood, red meat, dairy and horticulture. The key markets initially mentioned were China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and United Arab Emirates (UAE) but this list may expand depending on demand.
The increase in flights is also welcomed by those in the trade sector because Covid-19 had severely impacted the number of flights to and from Australia. The Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham explained that “90% of our air freight usually goes in the bellies of passenger aircraft. With very few international passenger flights leaving Australia at present, our exporters are facing major hurdles. Through the better coordination of freight out of Australia, we can restore key freight routes and establish more frequent flights to our key markets so our agricultural and fisheries exporters can deliver their products to customers on time”. The Agricultural Minister Littleproud added “We’re backing our farmers and fishers by making sure they can get more of their high-quality product into overseas markets. This is about reducing the barriers our agricultural and fisheries exporters face, so they can get back to focusing on producing the best and highest-quality product in the world”. The number of destinations will also increase from 4 to 11.
The International Freight Assistance Mechanism has already proved to be a success with 560 registered businesses and 50 flights booked under the list of high value products. Initiatives like this are exactly what Australia needed to help boost the economy after the uncertainty caused by the recent pandemic outbreak.