Export decision could follow Cathay’s final flights
A DECISION on an export hub worth $10 million at Cairns Airport could coincide with the last of Cathay Pacific's flights out of the Far North next month.
State Development Minister Cameron Dick, in Cairns yesterday for the South Pacific Defence and Industry Forum, would not be drawn on the chance of Cairns winning the aviation export hub from Toowoomba but said the government was "very close" to making a decision on the facility.
"It has been a big contest around Queensland and we are now finalising the analysis of the business case that has been done both here in Cairns and in Toowoomba," he said.
"We want to make sure we get it right. It's all about having a sustainable export hub for the future. We want to make sure the business case is right so it can deliver for many years to come.
"But we are getting very close."
Cairns MP Michael Healy said the Cairns Airport export hub would mean diversification from the tourism industry and there was potential to take growth to "the next level".
"Our agriculture industry is growing and we are seeing growing demand in the Asia Pacific region," he said.
"We have seen airlines come and go. We need to be able to create another stream of revenue by exporting our agriculture product.
"This is an essential part of our economic development. I have asked the minister if we can get it hopefully before Cathay completes its commitment to our region, which is in October."
Mr Dick, at Norship Marine in Portsmith yesterday, announced round 3 of the Made in Queensland program, worth $46 million statewide with $6 million available to Far North businesses.
"Since 2017 we have supported about 75 projects, which will create more than 930 new jobs over the next five years and generate approximately $92 million in private sector investment," Mr Dick said.
NORSHIP Marine was awarded $117,500 through Made in Queensland Round 1 to buy industry-leading equipment to extend its maritime, advanced manufacturing and engineering capabilities.
The business has since grown to become one of the state's top defence suppliers.
Norship Marine CEO Olav Groot said access to the matched MiQ funding allowed the company to revive its manufacturing capability.
"Our strategic vision was to roll out manufacturing improvements across the company and reinvigorate manufacturing in the Cairns region," he said.
Expressions of Interest for MiQ Round 3 are now open and will close at 5pm on October 11.