Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry says she is looking forward to seeing Council’s plans to create an international export hub at Rockhampton Airport.
“It is great to see that Council is recognising the huge potential of agricultural exports and this is a testament to the growth that can be expected with the construction of Rookwood Weir,” Ms Landry said.
“With a robust business case and sound economic management, Rockhampton Airport could be well positioned to transition into international operations, particularly given that it already acts as a temporary international airport when troops fly in for exercises.
“It’s important to start somewhere and the vision is solid, but we need to walk before we can run.
“I look forward to seeing Council’s proposed action plan to get this happening by next year, and I anticipate this will include plans for cold storage and transport, freight access roads into the airport, partnerships with airlines and an identified market.”
Ms Landry pointed to the success of Wellcamp Airport, who in partnership with Toowoomba Surat Basin Enterprise, have worked closely with industry experts to develop a number of initiatives to build export capability and food processing plans around the Darling Downs.
“The success story of Wellcamp Airport in Toowoomba is largely attributed to economic development bodies working closely with industry throughout the supply chain to develop food production, processing, cold storage and transport, market development and export opportunities,” she said.
“The short term focus for Council needs to focus on the logistics of freight movement, produce market demand and partnering with airfreight companies.
“The business case for ongoing exports will need to assess how Rockhampton is currently positioned, linking expansion of competitive agricultural production with value-adding opportunities and making sure the right infrastructure is in place.
“Any exported produce needs to be picked, packaged, chilled and transported efficiently to be economically viable so I am really keen to learn about the types of produce Council is hoping to export.
“Once these critical factors are developed into a plan I look forward to supporting the development needs identified in the business case, and if it all stacks up and makes financial sense, assisting with the process of getting customs, immigration and quarantine staff approved.
However Ms Landry said that it wasn’t just produce that was hoping to ship out from Rockhampton.
“I know a lot of people would like to see an increase in direct flights to other parts of Australia and I hope this is also in the pipeline for Airport operations.”