Freight plan is still in PUP works
BUNDABERG will be reinvented as a major export hub under an ambitious plan from Palmer United Party’s Richard Love.
Under Mr Love’s plan, which he said was not a promise and not yet fully costed, Bundaberg would take advantage of existing “but unused” free trade agreements with Asian countries.
The former Katter Australian Party candidate reiterated his plan at Tuesday night’s candidate forum, and said it would create jobs and put more money in farmers’ pockets.
“We have a free trade agreement that we’ve had for years that we don’t use,” Mr Love said. “We expand the airport and make it more industrial/commercial so we can bring planes in from Asia.
“They can stock up on products that are made and grown in this area, and that’s how you make jobs.
“You make money, and the jobs follow.”
Mr Love claimed a “small investment” could generate “about $1-2bn” to the local economy within two to three years.
“It won’t take much to set up,” Mr Love said.
“The airport’s already there, they have the farmers, we have the people to get involved, all we have to do is make those jobs and make some money.
“It’s not a handout, but a hand up.”
Mr Love’s grand plan for growers would have to overcome significant hurdles to be seriously considered, with the Bundaberg Regional Council-owned airport recently the subject of local and State Government studies.
The State Government undertook a freight demand study for the region last year, while BRC completed a strategic assessment of the airport in November.
Economic development portfolio spokesperson Cr Greg Barnes said both studies showed any future freight movement was unlikely.
“The potential use of the airport is at the forefront of our mind and we explore every opportunity for expansion,” Cr Barnes said.
“The movement of freight through the airport was not identified in either study as having any significant future potential.”