Joint media release

  • Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment
  • The Hon David Littleproud MP, Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management
  • The Hon Dan Tehan MP, Minister for Education, Federal Member for Wannon
16 April 2020

High-quality Victorian lamb will be back on menus across the Middle-East, with the Morrison Government helping to secure a critical freight export route under its $110 million International Freight Assistance Mechanism.

Under this new agreement, three B787 Dreamliners packed with chilled lamb from Victorian lamb processors including from Warrnambool’s Midfield Meat International, will leave Melbourne for Abu Dhabi over the coming week.

Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said it was vital Australian lamb producers could continue to get their products overseas during the current COVID-19 crisis.

“We know that disruptions to supply chains have made it hard for our red meat producers to get their chilled products into overseas markets in recent months,” Minister Birmingham said.

“With demand for Australian agricultural products like our lamb still strong, helping to support flights will allow our producers to continue to meet that demand.

“Securing these flights means our farmers can get their product back into our key export markets so we can keep more Australians in jobs and generate extra export dollars.”

Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said it was encouraging to see flights chock-a-block full of Australian lamb headed overseas.

“Markets like the Middle East are key for Australia’s lamb producers and we need to make sure that our farmers can keep getting their product on planes,” Minister Littleproud said.

“We’re doing everything we can to back our farmers during these tough times.”

Member for Wannon Dan Tehan said ensuring local lamb processors such as Midfield Meat International could continue to export their product was absolutely critical to protecting local jobs and our agriculture sector.

“These freight flights will help to safeguard local operations and local jobs,” Mr Tehan said.

“It is also great news for farmers across Wannon, as it continues to maintain an important export market for producers.”

“South-West Victoria produces some of the best lamb in Australia and we want to make sure it can continue to be enjoyed around the world.”

Last year, Australia exported $440 million of red meat via airfreight, with chilled lamb to the Middle East accounting for 50 per cent of this total value.

This initiative 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.

For more information, refer to the International Freight Assistance Mechanism fact sheet [PDF].