The Australian dairy industry has welcomed a new $110 million Federal Government support package to deliver fresh produce via air freight to key international trading partners as the Government seeks to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on local industries.
The initiative will co-ordinate flights from Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth to re-launch exports of fresh produce to China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.
Greater China (including Hong Kong), Japan and Singapore are among the top five export destinations for Australian dairy products.
Australian Dairy Industry Council chair Terry Richardson said that while most dairy exports went via sea freight, Australia in 2018/19 still exported 22,401 tonnes of dairy by air freight, worth US$214,549,142.
"This support package is a terrific boost that will help ease economic pressures on exporters who specialise in high-value, fresh, limited shelf-life products" Mr Richardson said.
Mr Richardson said it was still too early to determine the precise impact of COVID-19 on air freight, but some exporting business had already indicated that they had been affected.
"The advice we've been given from a number of dairy exporters is that the lack of available air freight as a result of the current situation have all but removed airfreight as being a viable option for export," he said.
"While some businesses have been lucky enough to redirect these export products to other channels like supermarkets, which are experiencing increased demand this is not seen as being a sustainable long-term solution."
The ADIC previously joined calls for the government to formally declare food production an essential service as federal, state, and territory governments continue to impose more stringent restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19.
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