Toowoomba’s Wellcamp Airport will become an agricultural export hub by early 2021, providing new export opportunities for farmers and food processors.
On Wednesday, the State Government announced it will make a multi-million dollar investment in Toowoomba and Cairns to boost jobs and create agricultural export “hot spots”.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Wagners Group Holdings has been selected to construct a Regional Trade Distribution Centre (RTDC) at Wellcamp Airport, with Cairns selected as the site for a second RTDC.
“This will supercharge rapid airfreight access for agricultural producers,” the Premier said.
“It means graziers and growers will have easier access to export markets and that means jobs.
“In 2017, we said we’d deliver an export hub for Queensland but following a very strong response we decided to deliver two.
“Now we’re delivering on our commitment and Toowoomba will reap the benefits.”
State Development Minister Cameron Dick said the Darling Downs RTDC would lift productivity.
It would also capitalise on Queensland’s global reputation as a leader in the production and processing of quality agricultural produce.
Mr Dick said Wagners planned to expand an existing distribution centre at Wellcamp, adding 3000 square metres to the facility.
“The expansion will comprise four state-of-the-art large cold rooms, a temperature-controlled store room, a store room and an external storage area,” he said.
“The new facility will be used to process premium export goods including beef, dairy products, fresh fruit and vegetables, pork and packaged nuts.”
Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Dr Anthony Lynham said the RTDC demonstrated the State Government’s focus on job creation and growth for Queensland’s agricultural producers and processors.
“From our Queensland Beef Processing Strategy 2019-2022 to our backing of companies like Swickers in Kingaroy and vegetable grower Qualipac in Inglewood, we are showing our support for regional businesses and Queenslanders who work there.
“This facility will give many of those businesses – most of whom have a presence in Asian markets – a greater opportunity to expand to other marketplaces in the region.”
Wellcamp Airport General Manager Robert Kasch said he was proud the Darling Downs had been selected as the location for the RTDC.
Wagners plan a 10-month build, with construction starting in the second quarter of 2020.
[UPDATED with correction]