Joint media release: New flights to get seafood exports moving again

6 May 2020

Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment
Senator the Hon. Jonathon Duniam, Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries
The Hon. Warren Entsch MP, Federal Member for Leichhardt


Tropical North Queensland’s seafood industry has been given a major boost with the Morrison Government helping to secure a critical freight route between Cairns and Hong Kong. 

Under this new agreement, Qantas will commence a weekly route from Brisbane-Cairns-Hong Kong. This new flight will commence on Thursday, 7 May 2020 and builds on the Qantas Sydney-Cairns-Hong Kong freight route already in operation.

Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said these freight flights would be a major step in getting the local seafood industry back-on-track after an incredibly challenging start to the year. 

“We recognise the current COVID-19 crisis has placed immense pressure on local seafood exporters, many of whom felt the earliest impacts when overseas demand began to dry up in January,” Minister Birmingham said. 

“With demand returning, it’s absolutely critical local fishers are able to their quality product out of the water and onto planes headed for key export markets such as Hong Kong.”

Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Jonno Duniam said the Morrison Government was re-connecting Australia’s seafood industry with the rest of the world. 

“This is about making fishers along the Queensland coast can get their high-quality produce back overseas so we can keep more locals in jobs and generate extra export dollars,” Assistant Minister Duniam said.

“By reducing the barriers our fisheries exporters face, they can get back to focusing on producing the best and highest-quality product in the world.”

Federal member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch said the first flight, leaving today was chock-a-block full of seafood sourced from local fishers.

“This is exactly the type of support our local seafood industry needs right now given there isn’t any commercial planes flying in and out of Tropical North Queensland,” Mr Entsch said.

“With these flights now locked in, local lobster, coral trout and other fishers from across region will have the certainty they need to get back into the water, knowing they can get their product to overseas customers once again.”

The International Freight Assistance Mechanism is part of the Government’s $1 billion Relief and Recovery Fund to support regions, communities and industry sectors that have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. 

For more information, visit https://www.austrade.gov.au/News/News/international-freight-assistance-mechanism.