Federal Government provides airfreight support for the lobster industry
The Federal Government today announced its International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM), which will assist Australia’s fisheries and agricultural sectors by helping them export produce into overseas markets. The return flights will deliver medical supplies, medicines and equipment across Australia. Identifying alternative freight options has become essential to trade due to restrictions and bans on passenger flights globally.
The new $110 million initiative will secure high value agricultural and fisheries exports into recovering international markets. This will help to maintain Australia’s position in key contested markets and assist primary industries to maintain good trade relationships by servicing their markets under difficult circumstances.
The IFAM will initially focus on the key markets of China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UAE, with four key departure hubs of Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.
The mechanism will be overseen by Mr Michael Byrne, who has been appointed as the International Freight Coordinator General. Mr Byrne has significant international logistics experience as Managing Director of Australia’s two largest logistics companies Toll Holdings and Linfox plus as a non-executive director of Australia Post. Mr Byrne will work with Austrade to help establish arrangements with exporters, airlines, freight forwarders and industry bodies, plus oversee the mechanism’s operations including advising the Government of destinations, freight selection and prioritisation.
The first flight is likely to leave within two weeks and it is estimated that about 200 flights could be supported under the IFAM, carrying about $500 million of exported goods. The mechanism is intended to remain in place until ordinary commercial markets return, or for six months, whichever is the earlier.
IFAM will allow the western rock lobster industry to continue exporting our premium product to recovering global markets and in particular China where there have been recent increases in demand and orders. Increasing demand and the ability to export will result in more boats fishing and more product being processed, which is a good early sign for jobs in our industry and benefits for our local communities.