Whitsunday airport to explore export market potential
New economic opportunities for agriculture, tourism and small business through freight markets will be investigated if the Whitsunday council secures a funding grant.
The council has been invited to apply for $250,000 funding through the North Queensland Economic Diversification Grants expressions of interest for the Whitsunday Coast Airport to explore the potential development of international freight routes.
Council documents state the Whitsunday Coast Airport - Domestic and International Freight Project Implementation activity was identified for submission as "it would provide new and improved freight processes and infrastructure".
"The project seeks to provide new economic opportunities for agriculture, tourism and small business through improved market access, freight efficiencies and new business creation," documents state.
The grants support emerging industries, expand small-scale industries or add value for existing industries and their supply chains to "generate economic and employment opportunities".
"There is a total $9 million in funding available for projects in the identified 14 Local Government Areas that were activated for the Monsoon Trough Event," documents state.
"The two streams available for funding are projects related to agriculture and its value chain and non-agricultural related projects."
Funds between $10,000 to $500,000 are available, and a financial or "in-kind co-contribution" are required.
The Whitsunday Regional Council was invited to identify upcoming operational or capital projects that may fit the criteria, with the airport's domestic and international freight project listed.
The $320,000 project includes implementing the proposed freight strategy that would "look at opportunities to enable commercial and agricultural airfreight".
The first stage would target network development with the Australia's newest and privately funded airport, Wellcamp outside Toowoomba, and its connections to the international freight networks.
The Whitsunday Coast Airport would seek to tap into Wellcamp Airport's existing Singapore Airlines service that operates three times a week.
"The project would be for six to 12 months and include costs for salaries and new equipment to best enable new freight network establishment," council documents state.
The council would be required to contribute $40,000 cash, and $30,000 in-kind.
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"The North Queensland Economic Diversification Grants provides an opportunity for council to deliver projects and programs that provide new economic opportunities for the Whitsundays," documents state.
The proposal will be discussed at this week's council meeting in Bowen.