The Australian Government has announced a $170 million Rescue Package to support fresh food exports and medical supply imports in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The package will help to re-launch cargo flights to key international markets to continue to deliver fresh produce and boost Australia’s export sector. This includes $110 million to re-launch flights from major Australian cities to deliver fresh produce to key export markets such as China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. The return flights will then provide an opportunity to import vital medical supplies including equipment and medicines.
The announcement by Trade Minister Simon Birmingham will also waive $10 million in Commonwealth fishery fees and boost the Government’s existing export grants program by $50 million – reimbursing marketing costs for exporters.
The package will provide a lifeline to sectors including seafood, red meat, dairy and horticulture that were hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis as they rely heavily on cargo aircraft to deliver their goods to export markets.
Senator Birmingham commented, “Necessary public health restrictions are already placing massive pressure on business viability and job security.
“We can’t afford for our farmers, fishers and exporters to be under similar pressure just because they can’t get their goods onto a plane.
“When these flights return to Australia there will be capacity for them to transport vital medical supplies, medicines and equipment, which will be critical to the ongoing health response.”