Supporting South Australian exporters throughout the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 will be the focus of a new expert industry taskforce established by the Marshall Liberal Government.
Minister for Trade and Investment, David Ridgway said the Export Recovery Taskforce will work to identify impacts across export sectors and to coordinate government intervention and support for affected businesses.
“The Taskforce will work to identify possible policy and program responses to help address the economic effect of the COVID-19.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented situation for exporters, and we are working to minimise disruption to these critical industries,” Minister Ridgway said.
“South Australia has an immense task ahead of us, and the impacts of COVID-19 are being felt across all export sectors. We recognise the enormous economic and logistical issues challenging our industries, businesses and individuals right now as a result of the necessary restrictions on travel.”
The Minister said the Taskforce will consist of representatives from key freight entities, such as Brenton Cox of Adelaide Airports and Evan Knapp of the SA Freight Council and will also seek input from air, sea and freight businesses, as well as exporters with a particular focus on fresh food.”
“The first meeting of the Taskforce, which was held on Friday via video conference, sought input from a wide range of exporters, so we can comprehensively identify the impacts and target government intervention and support.”
“The meeting focussed on the logistical supply chain. Our focus right now is minimising the impact being felt by exporters with the cessation of international air freight.”
“The Taskforce has the ability to expand its membership to include additional contributors around specific issues and release other contributors as the focus of work changes. We need to be flexible and adaptable during these unprecedented times.”
The Minister said the Taskforce would also seek input from and be supported by a Working Group, made up of representatives of the Department for Trade and Investment, PIRSA, DIS and Austrade.
“It is critical during this time that we advocate and connect with our cross-government and federal colleagues, to prioritise and direct policy responses to the appropriate area of government.
“The situation is changing daily, with different challenges in different regions. That’s why we are utilising our Government’s international trade offices, to get up-to-date information from within these markets to better assist South Australian businesses.”
The Taskforce will meet weekly via video conference and will be reviewed at the end of May.
Industry representatives that will advise the first meeting include:
- Pak Fresh Handling (Nathan Beven)
- Seaway (Russell Kerley)
- Abalone Association (Kane Williams)
- Australian Fishing Enterprises (Peter Fare)
- Thomas Foods International (Darren Thomas)
- Beston Global Foods (Roger Sexton)
- Zerella Fresh (Mark Pye)
- Ferguson Australia (Deb Ferguson)
- DTI (Justin Ross)
- DIS (Louisa Newstead)
- PIRSA (Nathan Rhodes)
- Austrade (Patrick Kearins).