Supercharging agricultural exports from the North

Agricultural export hubs to be built in Cairns and Toowoomba

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An artist impression of the planned Cairns Regional Trade Distribution Centre.

An artist impression of the planned Cairns Regional Trade Distribution Centre.

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An agricultural export hub will be created in Cairns to speed up access to Asian markets.

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AGRICULTURAL export hubs will be created in Cairns and Toowoomba in a move designed to easily transport Australian produce to the world.

The plan to deliver a multimillion-dollar hub was first discussed in 2017, and the State Government this week announced two successful sites.

State Development Minister Cameron Dick said the Cairns centre would boost access to markets in Asia, Europe and other global markets for Queensland's primary producers.

"The centre will allow North Queensland's fruit and seafood industries along with a range of other industries improved access to international markets which, in turn will have a flow-on benefit to regional communities," he said.

"The Cairns export hub will mean even more of our world-class seafood and agricultural produce including fish and crustaceans, frozen prawns, avocadoes, melons, citrus, blueberries, mangoes and other tropics fruits will head overseas, boosting our economy and creating jobs."

Cairns MP Michael Healy said the announcement came as the inaugural Air Niugini Cairns-Hong Kong flight loaded with North Queensland pumpkins, rockmelons and live fish was bound for lucrative Asian markets.

"This investment benefits our export agricultural and aquaculture industries," Mr Healy said.

Cairns Airport's chief executive officer Norris Carter said it was a great announcement for the region and the airport.

"We welcome the state government's contribution and recognition of the importance of Cairns as the gateway to the Asia Pacific region for freight," he said.

"This announcement also supports our vision for sustainable aviation growth and identifies the enormous export potential that exists for producers from across the Far North."

Air Freight Handling Services (AFHS) will establish the Regional Trade Distribution Centre (RTDC) in Cairns, with construction of the 3400 square metre facility to start next year.

Wagners Group Holdings will expand the facility at Toowoomba's Wellcamp Airport, by 3000 square metres.

"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," Mr Dick said.

"The new facility will be used to process premium export goods including beef, dairy products, fresh fruit and vegetables, pork and packaged nuts."

Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport general manager Robert Kasch said he was proud that the Darling Downs had been selected as the location for the Regional Trade Distribution Pilot Centre.

"As a proud Toowoomba-based company, the interests of Wellcamp Airport are closely intertwined with those of primary producers and processors across the Darling Downs and regional Queensland", Mr Kasch said.

"We look forward to building a centre which will take the agricultural export capacity for this region to the next level, for the benefit of generations to come."

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