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Government throws a lifeline to Aussie food producers

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The federal government will bridge the gap between Australian producers and international markets by funding 200 planes for exports.

Outbound flights to key Asian markets will be stocked with seafood and other fresh produce, and inbound flights will import much-needed medical supplies and protective equipment, such as masks and testing kits.

“The problem at present is that around 90-odd per cent of our freight that normally leaves Australia in planes goes in the bellies of passenger planes,” Trade and Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham tells Deborah Knight.

“Of course, those passenger planes aren’t flying anymore, and that is crippling the freight opportunities for our farmers and fishermen.”

Mr Birmingham says exporters will still need to pay the cost of freight, but the government will step in to get flights off the ground to avoid “even more pressure on the economy”.

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Image: James D. Morgan/Getty Images