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Whitsunday Regional Council will be lodging a Registration Of Interest (ROI) for the $10 million Regional Export Distribution Centre Pilot opportunity recently offered by the Queensland Government.
Mayor Andrew Willcox said the Palaszczuk Government had committed to support business case development and the construction of a pilot export distribution centre in regional Queensland.
“Expressions of Interest (EOI) will open from July until the end of August but prior to that the Department of State Development Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning (DSDMIP) are seeking ROIs from parties thinking of throwing their hat into the ring,” he said.
“The ROI stage involves providing a brief overview of the project (location, regional airport connection and goods/products to be handled), including current challenges.
“Our Economic Development team headed by Executive Officer Melanie Davies are in the process of lodging an ROI from Council.”
Mayor Willcox said this was a huge economic growth opportunity and aligned with Council’s Economic Development Strategy adopted last year as well as the Whitsunday Coast Airport Strategic Plan.
“We are one of the few regional councils that own an airport and are in close proximity to a huge horticulture base, major highways and rail network, so this makes the Whitsundays an obvious choice,” he said.
“However we do have our backs against the wall as one of the key requirements of the proposal is an international export-ready airport in regional Queensland.
“So basically we are going in to bat against the privately owned Wellcamp Airport at Toowoomba, and international airport hubs in Townsville and Cairns.
“The EOI stage is much more complex and would require a significant investment which is not recoverable by Council under the Regional Export Distribution Centre funding,” he said.
The Regional Export Distribution Centre Pilot aims to boost rapid access to international markets for Queensland’s regional producers providing opportunities to expand into new markets, create jobs and boost productivity.
The Queensland Government will support a successful proponent from the EOI stage to develop the business case of a REDC Pilot.
If the project is then demonstrated to be feasible, the proponent will be supported to complete approvals processes, secure finance and build a commercially viable facility.
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