Joint media release: Freight flights boost for Australian exporters

3 July 2020

The Hon Michael McCormack MP, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development
Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment
The Hon David Littleproud MP, Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management
Senator the Hon Jonathon Duniam, Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries


Australian exporters reliant on air freight will continue to have access to key international export markets, thanks to a $240 million funding injection to help keep international freight routes and flights operating.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the $240 million funding injection would extend support, under the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM), until the end of the year. 

“This temporary measure has provided an export lifeline to thousands of farmers, fishers and other exporters around Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Deputy Prime Minister said. 

“With few international passenger flights at present, restoring supply chains has been vital to maintaining relationships between exporters and their customers around the world.

“The Midfield Group in Warrnambool, Victoria has been one of many beneficiaries of these freight flights, exporting high quality lamb to the Middle East.”

Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said this temporary program had already helped secure carriage of more than 36,000 tonnes of exports to 50 key international export destinations and had also supported the import of critical medical supplies.  

“With international travel restrictions expected to remain in place for the foreseeable future, our exporters and key importers will continue to face significant barriers,” Minister Birmingham said.

“This is about restoring global supply chains. These freight flights have been critical to getting produce out the door during these tough times and helping to keep our exporters in business and connected to their hard-won established global customers. 

“A key feature of IFAM has been the logistical and administrative support for international freight movements by aggregating cargo loads, negotiating with airlines and dealing with partner governments to facilitate clearances and improve transparency of freight costs during the pandemic.

“It’s absolutely critical that we keep exports and vital imports such as of medical supplies and other essential items flowing as we continue the economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.”

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said this was a major win for Australian farmers. 

“We’re backing our farmers by making sure they can continue to get more of their high-quality product into overseas markets,” Minister Littleproud said.

“Keeping our farmers connected with their established international customers will help them keep their operations going so they can keep producing a top quality export product and enhance their reputation as a reliable partner.”

Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Jonno Duniam said IFAM had been critical to getting our seafood industry back on its feet. 

“Under this program we’ve already helped get over $500 million worth of Australian seafood from almost every state and territory out of the water and on to planes,” Assistant Minister Duniam said. 

“This funding extension locks in ongoing support for the thousands of fishers, divers, deckhands and processors that underpin our world-renowned premium-quality seafood industry.”

For more information on IFAM, visit: www.austrade.gov.au/ifam.