Support and financial services available during COVID-19

There are services and support to help you keep your business operating through the COVID-19 crisis.

Financial assistance

For the latest about financial support during COVID-19, check the information available from the SA Business Information Hub, SA Department of Treasury and Finance, and the Australian Government.

Exports – air freight support and Recovery Taskforce

International Freight Assistance Mechanism

Singapore Airlines service from Adelaide has been confirmed for a further 6 week rotation from 29 July 2020. This comes in addition to Cathay Pacific Airlines earlier extension until late August 2020. See the outbound IFAM Flight schedule.

The two freight flight options are:

  • Singapore Airlines | Flight No. SQ0278 | Departs every Wednesday until Wednesday 2 September 2020
  • Cathay Pacific | Flight No. CX2174 | Departs every Sunday until Sunday 23 August 2020.

Even though the IFAM is being extended, it’s important to remember it is a temporary, emergency measure in response to an extraordinary situation. The extension will give Australian businesses more time to re-engineer their business models and adjust to a new and tougher trading environment created by COVID-19.

South Australian exporters can continue to gain access to commercial freight options through their freight forwarder. View flight details.

Businesses can continue to access the IFAM by registering their interest or by contacting their freight forwarder. Visit the Austrade website for more information on the scheme and the latest flight schedules. Read the IFAM fact sheet.

Airfreight route opens for South Australian exporters

A new direct airfreight route between Adelaide and Singapore will start from next Wednesday 6 May 2020 as part of the $110 million International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM). South Australian airfreight exporters of high-value perishable produce such as seafood, meat and dairy will be able to export their products to international markets following successful negotiations with Singapore Airlines. To ensure this dedicated exclusive Adelaide flight continues beyond the initial two weeks, exporters are encouraged to immediately speak with their freight forwarder to get their exports booked on this dedicated service.

See the Department for Trade and Investment website for the latest information on support for South Australian exporters.

Read the media release.

New air freight network to boost agricultural and fisheries exports

A new network of 15 air freight service providers and freight forwarders has been established by the Commonwealth Government to accelerate delivery of agricultural and fisheries exports into key overseas markets.

In the first three weeks of its operation, over 560 Australian businesses have registered their interest in utilising the International Freight Assistance Mechanism and agreements for 55 freight flights have already been secured.

For more information, please read the fact sheet or visit the Austrade website.

Read the media release.

Air freight support for essential agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries

A new $110 million initiative will back Australia’s agricultural and fisheries sector by helping them export their high-quality produce into key overseas markets. Return flights will bring back vital medical supplies, medicines and equipment.

The aim is to help restore key freight routes for farmers until commercial capacity can be restored.

Read the media release and factsheet.

You can also have your say about the initiative and register your interest.

Export Recovery Taskforce

Supporting South Australian exporters throughout COVID-19 will be the focus of a new expert industry taskforce. The Export Recovery Taskforce will work to identify the effects of the COVID-19 crisis across export sectors and to coordinate government intervention and support for affected businesses.

The Taskforce consists of representatives from key freight organisations such as the SA Freight Council and Adelaide Airports. It's looking for input from air, sea and freight businesses, as well as exporters with a particular focus on fresh food.

Read the media release.

Additional air freight capacity available for Australian exporters

To support Australian exporters, Qantas and Virgin Australia are offering air freight capacity on repatriation international passenger services to Auckland, Hong Kong, Los Angeles and London, from Thursday 9 April 2020.

While these services are limited, this will give Australian producers a way to obtain valuable inputs for their businesses. The return flights to Australia will bring in vital medicines, medical supplies and equipment to support Australia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The best way to access these flights is to utilise your standard freight operations channels, including your freight forwarder.

For more information on the repatriation flights including schedules, visit:

Advice for exporters of perishables that either use, or may use airfreight

Make sure you register your interest in air freight through the Commonwealth’s International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM). This is particularly important to get access to flights leaving the hubs announced (Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth). Register online or call (02) 6272 2444. No due date is set by the Commonwealth, but we strongly advise that you do this immediately to be considered as part of the early consolidated flights and benefit from the subsidisation available. Whilst the IFAM will initially only focus on the key markets of China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UAE, please still register if you have other target markets, as this list may be expanded if there is sufficient demand and commercial opportunity.

There is opportunity through IFAM to consider proposals for flights direct from Adelaide, and the South Australian Government is working on this with freight forwarders and the SA Freight Council. Please indicate your interest and give the details of your potential air freight needs directly to the TradeStart adviser for your region, so the Government can make sure these are considered if any ex-Adelaide options can ultimately be facilitated.

Please keep close contact with your existing freight forwarders, as they too will become aware of air freight opportunities. Businesses should also continue to look at options via other cities (Melbourne is the most common), but consider the ex-Adelaide option when and if it becomes available. Whilst the focus is on perishables at this stage, there is potential that non-perishable or less perishable items might be eligible, provided they are high value (eg. wine). At this stage, the South Australian Government is not considering subsidising road freight to other states.

Export Fundamentals Program

The State Government has launched a new Export Fundamentals Program to help emerging and existing exporters successfully market their products and services internationally, and drive local jobs growth. The program - designed by the Department for Trade and Investment - will be delivered in partnership with the national employer association and provider of trade and export development services, the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) and South Australian firm Hydra Consulting. The training program will support South Australian exporters by giving them the tools, connections and confidence to successfully move into international markets.

See the Department for Trade and Investment website for more information about the program and registration links for upcoming sessions in May.

Read the media release.

SA exporters get a boost to sell products online

South Australian exporters will receive a boost from the State Government to go online and sell their products to the world as part of a new eCommerce Accelerator Program (eCAP).

The $500,000 eCAP program comes after COVID-19 related restrictions have seen consumers embrace online platforms to purchase goods. This program will allow eligible small to medium exporters to apply for up to $10,000 in grant funding to diversify their business model to include an online platform to generate more revenue and create new jobs.

Read the media release.

Export assistance

Australian exporters impacted by the COVID-19 crisis will now have access to business-saving loans between $250,000 and $50 million under a new $500 million capital facility to be administered by Export Finance Australia.

The new COVID-19 Export Capital Facility will target loans to established and previously profitable exporters who, due to COVID-19, are unable to gain finance from commercial sources. For more information read the fact sheet or the media release from Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham.

Keeping your business operating

The Department for Innovation and Skills has advice and support to help you respond to COVID-19 while keeping your business running. You can find information on:

Navigating your business through the COVID-19 pandemic

Business SA has partnered with the South Australian Small Business Commissioner to help SMEs navigate the current COVID-19 pandemic, take practical actions and build strategies to become more resilient against current and future threats to their businesses and marketplace.

See the Business SA webinar for SMEs to assist them in working through the threats to their businesses. There are also a range of other webinars and resources available to support small businesses through the COVID-19 crisis on the Department for Innovation and Skills website.

Mentoring Support for Startups and Scaleups Impacted by COVID-19

The Office of the Chief Entrepreneur and the Department for Innovation and Skills are inviting South Australian startups and scaleups to register their interest in an informal mentoring service. The mentorship program will directly connect them with highly experienced business people where they can have a confidential conversation about their circumstances and receive unbiased insights and advice to help them navigate through these uncertain times. Read more information.


The National Farmers Federation has advised that FarmHub has launched three dedicated pages to help our farming community access relevant information in one central location. The new additions aim to provide users with:

Managing your staff visas

Visa extension for overseas employees

The Commonwealth Government is making temporary changes to visa arrangements to help farmers access the workforce they need to secure Australia’s food and produce supply during COVID-19. The changes will allow those within the Pacific Labour Scheme, Seasonal Worker Program and working holiday makers to continue to work in agriculture and food processing until the coronavirus crisis has passed.

If you employ overseas visitors in your operation, your employees may be able to apply for visa extensions, depending on their circumstances. Check the Home Affairs website regularly for updates to visa eligibility.

Wellbeing support

It’s normal to feel stress and worry when there is a health event happening in the community.

If you or your business has been affected by coronavirus, it is important to look after your mental health as well as your physical wellbeing.

If you notice a change in the way you, or others around you, are thinking or feeling, here are some resources so you can maintain positive mental health.

SA Health

For mental health support by phone and video in relation to COVID-19, contact the SA COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line by calling 1800 632 753, available 8.00 am to 8.00 pm, 7 days a week. This service can also provide follow-up calls.

SA COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line: 1800 632 753
Mental health emergency hotline: 13 14 65
Website: Mental health services
Read the SA Health Mental Health impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19) factsheet.

Mental Health Triage

Phone: 13 14 65
Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (country and metropolitan areas)

Beyond Blue

Phone: 1300 22 46 36

Lifeline Australia

Phone: 13 11 14

Regional Access Program

Phone: 1300 032 186
Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Rural Health Connect

Speak to a psychologist online via video conferencing.

Phone: 0427 692 377

Lived Experience Telephone Support Service (LETSS)

Phone: 1800 013 755
A peer mental health support line, available 5 pm – 11.30 pm

Youth Beyond Blue

For people under 25 years of age.

Phone: 1300 224 636


For people under 25 years of age.

Phone: 1800 650 890

Open your world

The state government's wellbeing strategy, Open Your World, aims to give South Australians help in building resilience and quicker recovery.

The website features sections on how to:

  • look after you and your family
  • connect with others
  • stay active and healthy
  • learn and experience new things.


Page Last Reviewed: 04 May 2020
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