AGRICULTURAL export centres soon could be operating in the Queensland cities of Toowoomba and Cairns, with the state government seeking private sector involvement.
For Toowoomba, the government has invited Wagner Group Holdings to submit a business case for a possible multimillion-dollar agricultural export distribution centre at Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport.
Wagner Group famously developed the airport from scratch.
Meanwhile in Cairns, the government has invited Air Freight Handling Services to submit a business case for a possible multimillion-dollar agricultural export distribution centre at the airport.
State development minister Cameron Dick said the government made an election commitment to provide up to $10m for each project from the $150m Jobs and Regional Growth Fund.
“The delivery of this election commitment will support the development and construction of an agricultural export distribution pilot centre in regional Queensland,” Mr Dick said.
“Wagner Group Holdings will now start work on a business case for Toowoomba after progressing through the Regional Export Distribution Centre Pilot expression of interest process, which attracted detailed proposals from across Queensland,” he said.
“An export distribution centre of this type is new for Queensland, and we are taking our time to get it right.”
Agriculture minister Mark Furner said agricultural exports continued to generate huge results.
“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.”
Member for Cairns Michael Healy said the valuable space on passenger flights could be better utilised for 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.