- McGowan Government helps industry resume air freight of pork and other fresh produce to Singapore
- Air freight of agricultural produce from Perth severely impacted by restrictions on passenger aircraft
- Protecting WA's overseas markets key to economic recovery
- Discussions underway with the Commonwealth Government to find a longer-term solution for WA food exporters, funded through the Commonwealth
The McGowan Government has supported resumption of air freight of Western Australian agrifood exports to Singapore, with a flight loaded with pork and beef departing Perth today.
About 10 per cent of the value of WA's annual agrifood exports is transported via air freight, worth $804.6 million in 2018-19, which is primarily dependent on cargo capacity available through commercial passenger flights.
Travel restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19 have drastically reduced the number of passenger planes servicing Perth, and therefore agrifood cargo options.
The McGowan Government has committed up to $624,000 towards temporarily offsetting significantly increased air freight costs and supporting dedicated freight services ahead of the commencement of a broader Commonwealth air freight scheme.
Funding has been provided to processor Linley Valley Pork as the main agrifood exporter into Singapore.
More than $50 million of WA agrifood products were airfreighted into Singapore in 2018-19, led by chilled pork.
This agreement is subject to up to 30 per cent of the available cargo payload also being made available to other WA agriculture and food products, so that established exporters who have had their supply into Singapore disrupted are able to access available air freight capacity.
The first State-supported flight departs for Singapore today, carrying more than 40 tonnes of Western Australian pork, beef and vegetables.
The State Government, led by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, is working with the Commonwealth Government's Co-ordinator General for the International Air Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) on a longer-term solution for WA food exporters to be funded by the Commonwealth.
Comments attributed to Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
"Our international trading partners are vital to the sustainability and prosperity of the WA agriculture and food sector.
"With almost no available air cargo capacity for fresh produce out of Perth, the cost of air freight has sky-rocketed, in some cases five times that of pre-COVID-19 pandemic prices.
"The funding supports chartered freight flights into Singapore, helping to offset the current heightened freight costs faced by WA exporters.
"Supporting our air freight exports is critical for business continuity, maintaining key markets for WA agrifood products and helping to keep jobs in the agrifood sector.
"Retaining overseas markets will help to provide a stable platform for recovery and continued market growth and diversification post COVID-19 pandemic."
Minister's office - 6552 6200