The Qld Government has invited Air Freight Handling Services (AFHS) to submit a business case for a possible multimillion-dollar agricultural export distribution centre at Cairns Airport.
Queensland Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the State Government made a commitment to provide up to $10 million from its $150 million Jobs and Regional Growth Fund for the project.
“This commitment will support the development and construction of an agricultural export distribution pilot centre in regional Queensland,” Mr Dick said.
“AFHS will now start work on a business case for Cairns after progressing through the Regional Export Distribution Centre Pilot expression of interest process, which attracted detailed proposals from across Queensland.
“An export distribution centre of this type is new for Queensland, and we are taking our time to get it right.
“A final decision on the outcome of the process and the location of the regional export distribution hub will be made later this year.”
Mr Dick said a Regional Export Distribution Centre would help boost rapid airfreight access for Queensland agricultural producers.
“This type of facility has the potential to help our primary producers access key international markets, while supporting regional jobs and enhancing agricultural productivity,” he said.
Queensland Minister for Agriculture Mark Furner said agricultural exports continued to generate huge results for Queensland.
“The export of Queensland’s premium agriculture products contributed almost $12 billion to our economy last financial year,” Mr Furner said.
“Initiatives like the Regional Export Distribution Centre Pilot will ensure we can build on our reputation as a global leader in the production and processing of top-quality agricultural produce, driving additional jobs and growth for our regions.
“This will mean more money for primary producers, and more jobs for Queensland.”
Member for Cairns Michael Healy said the valuable space on passenger flights can be better utilised for more agriculture exports.
“This is an excellent opportunity to not only grow our agricultural output and export, but to strengthen our tourism industry by increasing economic viability of airlines,” Mr Healy said.
“The business case will also look at ways the project can harness contributions from other partners, including the private sector and particularly the federal government.
A business case will also be submitted for Toowoomba, with Wagner Group Holdings to assess the viability of a Regional Export Distribution Centre at Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport.