In Agriculture

Victoria Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh

Record Food Exports See Melbourne Overtake Sydney

Victor P Taffa

Record levels of Victorian food exports have been the major factor in air freight exports from Melbourne airport overtaking those from Sydney for the first time, Agriculture and Food Security Minister Peter Walsh said today.

Speaking from Riyadh in Saudi Arabia during the Victorian Coalition Government’s Super Trade Mission to the Middle East, Mr. Walsh said air freight exports from Melbourne Airport increased 8 % last year and for the first time exceeded exports from Sydney Airport.

Mr. Walsh said exports from Melbourne Airport had risen 21 % between 2008 and 2012 and that 36 % of all exports sent by air from Australia last year had come from Melbourne.

In contrast, air freight exports from Sydney Airport had only increased 1% over the same period.

“The significant increase in food exports, in particular shipments of meat to the Middle East, is the major factor in Melbourne Airport overtaking Sydney for the first time.” Mr. Walsh said.

“Exports of food and fibre from Victoria increased 11 % to reach a record $9 Billion in 2011-12, reflecting unprecedented global demand for our farm produce.”

“The Middle East and North Africa region is the third biggest market for our farm sector, purchasing $1.1 Billion of food and fibre in 2011-12.”

Aviation Minister Gordon Rich-Phillips said the jump in food exports had underpinned Melbourne Airport’s rise to become Australia’s air freight gateway of choice.

“The fact that aircraft can arrive at and depart from Melbourne Airport 24 hours a day without restriction also provides it with a significant competitive advantage.” Mr. Rich-Phillips said.

Mr. Walsh said 38,000 tonnes of meat were exported from Melbourne Airport in 2012, representing 38 % of total Melbourne air freight and more than 50 % of Australia’s total meat exports sent by air.

“Meat exports air freighted to the Middle East totalled 29,259 tonnes around 68 % of all meat exported from Melbourne Airport.”

“The Gulf region is clearly driving the growth in air freight exports of meat out of Victoria and we are seeing more dedicated freighter aircraft arriving in Melbourne to carry meat exports to Gulf markets.”

Mr. Walsh said the key markets for air freight meat exports from Melbourne Airport were the United Arab Emirates (5,747 tonnes), Bahrain (6,180 tonnes), Iran (5,945 tonnes) and Qatar (5,371 tonnes)

“The significant increase in air freight exports from Melbourne is a great result for Victorian exporters and food producers.” Mr. Walsh said.

“It is also a strong reminder of just how important the Victorian food and fibre sector is to the economic wellbeing of this state.”

Mr. Walsh said the Super Trade Mission to the Middle East, the largest ever undertaken by Victoria to the region, was another example of the Coalition Government’s efforts to help exporters take full advantage of the on-going increase in global demand for the state’s food and fibre and other goods and services.

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