Freight flights boost for South East Queensland farmers

It will now be easier for South East Queensland farmers to get their high-quality produce into key overseas export markets with the Morrison-McCormack Government helping to secure two direct freight routes to Hong Kong and Singapore.

Kicking-off today, Cathay Pacific will start a weekly direct freight flight carrying local beef, pork, eggs, fruit and vegetables from Toowoomba’s Wellcamp Airport to Hong Kong.

In an additional boost, from Friday, Singapore Airlines will also start a weekly freight flight between Toowoomba and Singapore. It’s anticipated each flight will carry between 30-40 tonnes of local produce.

Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said that the COVID-19 pandemic had created barriers for exporters and these flights would make it easier for local farmers to get their high-quality produce overseas.

“With very few passenger planes flying overseas at present, we need to make sure local farmers and producers across South East Queensland still have avenues to get their produce over to their overseas customers,” Minister Birmingham said.

“By securing these freight flights farmers from the Lockyer Valley, and across the Darling Downs and Granite Belt regions won’t have to truck their fresh produce down to Brisbane, saving them time and money.

The more local product we can get out the door, the more local jobs we can protect and the more export dollars we can generate for the region.”

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said this confirms Australia’s reputation as a reliable trading partner for fresh, safe, high quality produce, even under these difficult conditions.

“We will back our farmers and our agricultural exporters because we know they will be the foundation stone to the recovery from this COVID recession,” said Minister Littleproud

Federal Member for Groom John McVeigh said with the first flight taking off today this was another magnificent milestone for Toowoomba’s own Wellcamp Airport.

“I’m proud that the Federal Government is facilitating these direct international freight linkages to Hong Kong and Singapore,” Dr McVeigh said.

“This opens up even more international market opportunities for producers in the Toowoomba and Darling Downs region.”

Assistant Minister for Freight Transport and Federal Member for Wright Scott Buchholz congratulated all parties that had worked hard to get these arrangements in place, to ensure local producers were still able to access international markets.

“Our growers here in the Lockyer Valley produce some of the best produce in the country and their quality product fills the shelves in many countries,” Assistant Minister Buchholz said.

“These new measures protect access to high-value markets that have stalled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as a result of logistical issues.

“It pleases me that our Liberal National Government recognises the importance of agriculture and the trading relationships we have with other nations.”

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

For more information, visit www.austrade.gov.au/ifam.

Media Contact:

Birmingham: Benn Ayre 0428 342 325

Littleproud: Doug Ferguson 0455 448 985