Business blooming for flower exporters
- The Hon Christian Porter MP, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Member for Pearce
Morrison Government support has helped Australia's largest wildflower exporter to weather the COVID-19 storm and support local jobs and businesses.
Wafex provides about half of Australia's national flower exports. It employs 150 staff, owns four large grow farms and buys from 50 domestic commercial growers across south-west Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, the NSW South Coast and North Coast regions and south-east Queensland.
Because of COVID-19 imposed border restrictions, flower and foliage exports were down by around 30 per cent, or $2.9 million, in 2020. The Morrison Government has been supporting Wafex's export business through the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM), which provides air transport for perishable goods to reach overseas customers.
Wafex Owner Craig Musson said Wafex would have struggled to survive without support via IFAM.
“IFAM single-handedly saved our export business last year,” Mr Musson said.
“Without IFAM we would not have been able to export anything at all. We would have taken a $5 million hit and had to lay off many of our workers. We have 50 commercial flower growers reliant on our exports and some would have gone out of business as well.
“The freight assistance mechanism allowed us to get some of our product out to the international market during what was an incredibly difficult time to export.”
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan said IFAM had helped Australian exporters continue their international operations and support local jobs.
“Our Government is providing $781.7 million through IFAM to support Australian businesses to keep exporting,” Mr Tehan said.
“Keeping our Australian growers connected with their established international customers will ensure continuity of operations and mean local businesses are well-placed to take advantage of Australia's continued economic recovery.
“Our support for exporters through IFAM flows through to their suppliers, supporting local jobs and the local communities in which they operate.
Federal Member for Pearce Christian Porter said he was pleased to see businesses in his electorate, like Wafex, supported by the Morrison Government.
“With support from Morrison Government led assistance, including JobKeeper, Wafex were able to retain all 60 of their local staff in WA throughout the height of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
“On top of that, Wafex emerged from the pandemic in a position where they were able to hire even more staff.
“Their business is a great example of how Government policies support locals.”
Mr Musson said he expected a strong supply for the upcoming season - which runs from June to December - as many of the company's farms and suppliers reach full production this year.
“There has been some great rains and the crops are looking fantastic,” he said.
“We're expecting a big season with our production estimated to be up by about 30 per cent compared to last year.”
The company plans to distribute some of the country's most prized wildflowers and waxflowers into markets including the United States, Taiwan, China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Holland, Vietnam and Japan.
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