A new initiative is aimed at helping the fisheries industry.
A new initiative is aimed at helping the fisheries industry.

Initiative aims to get fisheries and agriculture on track

A NEW initiative has been announced by the Federal Government to assist the agriculture and fisheries industries get their products back into key export markets.

Hinkler MP Keith Pitt said he welcomed the $110 million investment to establish the International Freight Assistance Mechanism.

“Our local seafood and agriculture producers have been hamstrung with reduced, and in some cases no access to export markets because of freight restrictions due to coronavirus,” Mr Pitt said.

“Some of our seafood businesses have had freezers full of stock that they can’t send anywhere.

“For them to be able to get their product to export markets is great news for their business and it means more people will be kept in jobs, whether that’s fishers, deckhands or processors.”

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.

It will be overseen by Michael Byrne, who has been appointed as the International Freight Coordinator General.

He will work with Austrade to help establish arrangements with exporters, airlines, freight forwarders and industry bodies plus oversee the mechanism’s operations including advising the Government of destinations, freight selection and prioritisation.

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