Freight plan is still in PUP works

Isis Town and Country - - News -

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.”

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