Wellcamp GM Sara Hales.
Wellcamp GM Sara Hales.

Why Toowoomba deserves multi-million dollar freight hub

TOOWOOMBA company Wagner Corporation will make its case to the State Government within months on why the region would suit a multi-million dollar freight hub.

The private business, in conjunction with subsidiary Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport, will face off against a rival competitor's bid for up to $10 million of public money to help fund the massive project.

The winning business case for the agricultural export distribution centre will be announced by State Development Minister Cameron Dick before the end of the year.

Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport general manager Sara Hales said the Darling Downs was the logical choice for an agricultural export hub due to the region's history of success in the industry.

"It's a good opportunity for Toowoomba and the surrounding areas to create an export centre that has Queensland exports in mind," she said.

"The business case phase will look at the market opportunities and what is needed to grow that.

"Toowoomba is the central hub of Queensland's most productive agricultural regions.

"It has a high concentration of abattoirs, greenhouses, high-value industries, (and) a lot of Toowoomba's industries are perennial, rather than seasonal."

Ms Hales said Wagner Corporation and Wellcamp Airport hoped to finish the business case well before the June deadline.

"It is important we move through the business case phase to find out the true potential of this project," she said.

"It is going to cost significantly more than $10 million (from the government) and will require us to invest our own capital as well.

"Toowoomba is really where we're going to see a return on investment and create jobs."

Mr Dick said the agricultural export hub was an election promise the State Government wanted to deliver.

"Wagner Corporation will now start work on a business case for Toowoomba, after progressing through the expression of interest process, which attracted detailed proposals from across Queensland.

"An export distribution centre of this type is new for Queensland, and we are taking our time to get it right.

"A final decision on the outcome of the process and the location of the regional export distribution hub will be made later this year."

The other major competitor was Air Freight Handling Services in Cairns.

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