Cairns export hub project building momentum

JOINT STATEMENT

The development of the new Regional Trade Distribution Centre (RTDC) in Cairns is starting to kick off, thanks to a continued strong health response to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recovery looking positive.

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles said Air Freight Handling Services (AFHS) was calling for tenders for construction of the new hub at Cairns International Airport.

“Air Freight Handling Services (AFHS) is establishing a Regional Trade Distribution Centre (RTDC) in Cairns that will supercharge rapid airfreight access for agricultural producers, and aid Far North Queensland’s economic recovery,” Mr Miles said.

“We know that global appetites for Queensland’s world-class produce is growing, and this centre will make it much easier for our producers to export their produce faster and fresher.

“It will give Queensland producers easier access to export markets and that means more jobs for Queenslanders.

“The Palaszczuk Government is supporting this key project with an up to $10 million investment through the Government’s Jobs and Regional Growth Fund.”

Treasurer and Minister for Investment Cameron Dick said the RTDC at Cairns International Airport would be the second export-focused centre with the other at Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport opened in late July.

“This project can be the catalyst for a resurgence in export opportunities in Far North Queensland,” the Treasurer said.

“A dedicated Regional Trade Distribution Centre gives our farmers, graziers, growers and other producers and processors the best possible opportunity to get their products from paddock to plane to plate as quickly as possible.

“This includes our fabulous Queensland seafood with growing international demand for crustaceans, fish and prawns, as well as our luscious tropical fruit, vegetables and nuts, and high-quality beef and dairy products.

“This will be a great asset for Cairns and a welcome boost for our regional producers to more easily access key international markets, especially those in Asia.

“This means jobs for the Cairns region with up to 30 on-site jobs during construction with further operational jobs and ongoing opportunities through the supply chain once the facility is up and running.”

Member for Cairns Michael Healy said the trade hub would allow further economic diversification for the Far North.

“This essential piece of infrastructure will contribute to the growth in our agricultural exports while creating jobs and ensuring another stream of revenue for airlines,” Mr Healy said.

“This facility opens significant opportunities for our city and region”.

AFHS Managing Director Barb Ford said they are delighted for the project to now start becoming a reality and are pleased to be working with the Queensland Government on a world-class facility that will support exports and create new jobs.

“Our facility will feature state-of-the-art large cold and freezer rooms, and both temperature-controlled and ambient transit areas,” Ms Ford said.

“Advertising for local trades and sub-trades will start from Saturday 18 September calling for local providers to get involved with this exciting project.”

Cairns International Airport CEO Richard Barker said the airport is looking forward to the trade centre becoming operational and the value that it adds to the freight network.

“We believe there is a lot of potential to increase freight exports as a result of this facility, which will benefit the local economy and help with the rebuilding of international aviation,” Mr Barker said.

The Treasurer said a key element of Queensland’s continued economic recovery is providing key advantages to our regional businesses that will in turn support the community and sustainable economic growth.

“Queensland Treasury analysis of spending data from major banks indicates that the recent 3-day snap lockdown in Cairns had only a temporary impact on the region’s consumer spending, with an immediate rebound once restrictions eased,” the Treasurer said.

“Following this recovery, and largely in line with Queensland more broadly, consumer spending in Cairns has rebounded strongly from the mid-April 2020 lows during the nationwide lockdowns, to be well above the pre-COVID levels of late February 2020.”

“This is a great sign of growing confidence in the community.”

Learn more about how the Queensland Government’s Jobs and Regional Growth Fund has supported projects like the RTDC create jobs and support investment.

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