Tasmania’s seafood exporters and fresh food producers will have a new link to the world with additional freight flights connecting Hobart and Sydney taking to the skies from next Wednesday.
Every week, two new freight flights will depart Hobart for Sydney, carrying valuable fresh produce including abalone, lobster, oysters, lettuce and dairy, with connecting flights expected to see products distributed to key Asian markets including Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore.
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said the Hobart-Sydney air bridge was essential for getting Tasmanian agriculture and seafood exporters back on their feet.
“The dramatic reduction of passenger flights has left many Australian exporters unable to get their premium produce into key international markets,” Minister Birmingham said.
“By restoring regular freight access, farmers and fishers can have the confidence to go about their business and continue to employ Australians, knowing they will still be able to sell their products around the world.
“These additional flights are crucial to keeping more Tasmanians in jobs and generating more export dollars for the state, which is an essential part to our overall economic recovery.”
Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Jonno Duniam said Tasmanian produce and seafood is sought after the world-over for its freshness, taste and reputation.
“These flights connecting Tasmanian exporters with key interstate export hubs twice a week offer a lifeline to the fishers and farmers who rely on trade with key international customers to make ends meet,” Assistant Minister Duniam said.
“Consumers across Asia and beyond will once again be able to see Tasmanian-grown abalone, lobster, vegetables, lettuce and dairy on supermarket shelves and dinner tables
“These flights are not a silver bullet for the state’s farmers and fishers who were hardest hit following the drop in air cargo, but they will help safeguard some of Tasmania’s jobs and bring back export dollars.
“We’re working hard to assist Tasmania’s seafood and produce industries — reconnecting our biggest salmon exporters with international markets while also rebuilding a supply chain for our smaller exporters.”
Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade Jeremy Rockliff said the freight link would support Tasmanian exporters.
“As Tasmania’s restrictions begin to ease and we start to rebuild a stronger Tasmania, ensuring we support our exporters to take their world-class products to the world is vital,” Minister Rockliff said.
“We have a strategy to grow trade to $15 billion by 2050, and vital to our economy is fostering ways to service existing trade routes efficiently and effectively, as well as opening doors to new opportunities.
“The freight ‘air-bridge’ is co-funded through International Freight Assistance Mechanism and the Tasmanian Government’s $1 million commitment to support vital links for international air freight exports.”
The International Freight Assistance Mechanism is part of the Government’s $1 billion Relief and Recovery Fund to support regions, communities and industry sectors that have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.