Growers and fishermen struggling to export fresh produce overseas due to a lack of flights will receive a $240 million boost from the Australian federal government. Typically almost all air freight from Australia is carried in the cargo hold of commercial aircraft, but COVID-19 restrictions have cancelled the majority of outbound flights. Therefore, the government will extend the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) until the end of the year with a commitment that it says will deliver $3 billion worth of produce to key international markets.
Since the IFAM was first announced in March, the program has assisted more than 1,800 flights deliver 36,000 tonnes of produce, valued at $1 billion.
"This funding extension will provide ongoing certainty for our exporters who rely on air freight and will help to protect the tens of thousands of jobs of those who rely upon on our export sector," Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said.
As reported on abc.net.au, IFAM has assisted exporters establish flights to more than 50 locations including Singapore, China, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.