A new $110 million initiative will back Australia’s agricultural and fisheries sector by helping them export their high-quality produce into key overseas markets, with return flights bringing back medical supplies, medicine and equipment.
In addition, around $10 million in Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) levies will also be waived for all commonwealth fishers, ensuring they do not have to pay commonwealth levies for the remainder of 2020.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the International Freight Assistance Mechanism would help secure freight flights into Australia’s key export markets.
“This will help restore key freight routes for our farmers until commercial capacity can be restored again,” Mr McCormack said.
“We are doing everything possible to help our high-value agricultural and fisheries exporters get their produce on airplanes and into overseas markets.
Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Jonno Duniam said the freight assistance and levy relief was a lifeline for Australian fishers.
“The fishing industry was one of the first hit when access to China was cut off in January, bringing many in the industry to their knees,” Assistant Minister Duniam said.
“Unlocking key international markets will get thousands of fishers, divers, deckhands and processors back on the job, and the levy relief will help to keep fishers financially afloat.
“Our seafood industry has been built on the back of some of the toughest and most resilient Australians, and this assistance will ensure that the sector can build a bridge to recovery.”
The International Freight Assistance Mechanism will initially focus on the key markets of China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UAE, with four key departure hubs: Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.
Published since 1978, Ausmarine is the foremost magazine servicing the Australian and New Zealand commercial, military and government marine sectors.