Hundreds of tonnes of lobster and abalone will be flown on emergency freight flights out of Australia in a $ 110 million push to stop a massive downturn across the seafood sector.
The government will fund 200 40-tonne flights of Australian produce to China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates as stock goes to waste and staff are laid off.
In Western Australia alone up to 98 per cent of its lobster produce usually heads to China. Fishers have pulled up their pots as they cannot get the product into centres such as Shanghai.
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said the coronavirus was placing a huge strain on Australian exporters as borders shut around the world.
“We recognise the current COVID-19 crisis is placing immense pressure on Australian exporters, many of whom felt the earliest and deepest aspects of the economic downturn," said Senator Birmingham.
“Getting our export sector back on its feet is crucial to reduce job losses through the crisis and a critical part of the ultimate economic recovery."
The planes from Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth are expected to be loaded with more than $500 million worth of lobster alone and more than $800 million worth of seafood over the course of the flights.
Author: Eryk Bagshaw/ The Brisbane Review (Read the entire article here)
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