Freight assistance extension welcomed

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The Federal Government has extended its International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) in a move welcomed by the National Farmers’ Federation.

Freight assistance extension welcomed
Canberra's export freight assistance package has been extended to September 30

IFAM was a COVID-19 response that aimed to maintain Australia’s airfreight routes for importers and exporters once commercial flights decreased due to border closures.

It has now been extended to September 30 and NFF chief executive Tony Mahar says the agriculture industry will be a big winner from the news.

"The Government has demonstrated it understands the serious supply chain challenges, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, confronting many export industries, including the agriculture sector," Mahar says.

"The IFAM program and its extension is nothing short of a critical life-line for agricultural commodities that are heavily reliant on international airfreight to get to market.

"Sectors such as the seafood industry, high value horticulture, and chilled meat are primarily reliant on airfreight, and the extension of the IFAM program gives these industries some breathing space to find alternate supply chains in the medium term."

According to government data, IFAM has already reconnected Australia to 70 international destinations and allowed for 380,000 tonnes of "high-value perishable products" to be exported.

The pandemic caused a 90 per cent drop in commercial flights overnight, and typically about 80 per cent of Australia’s airfreight is carried in these flights.

The IFAM extension announcement was part of a $1.2b package announced by the Federal Government for the aviation and tourism sectors, which included a half-price ticket program for passenger flights on certain domestic routes.

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