29 July 2016
First published in the July issue of Food and Drink Business Magazine by Tim Grey.
Traditionally, Australia has been an island of commodities. With the economy’s focus on extractive industries, and food exports generally confined to bulk produce traditionally value-added products have often been given short shrift.
Driven by falling metal prices and the downturn in China’s manufacturing and construction industries, a subtle shift in the Australian conversation is occurring. The demand from our neighbours in the north for safe, clean, sustainably-produced, high-quality food is quietly transforming our agricultural and food production industries.
Now with, a new airport two hours west of Brisbane – Brisbane West Wellcamp – has opened some exciting possibilities for producers in the Toowoomba region – already the second-most productive agricultural area in the country.
Brisbane West Wellcamp is the first-ever privately funded public airport in Australia. It is located about 8km west of Toowoomba’s town centre, and is part of an $11bn investment in local development, forming part of an 800ha business park.
While its first commercial flight took off in November 2014, a feasibility study by design and construction company Wiley has found the area is poised to become a major agricultural export hub. Massive opportunities in chilled and live beef, dairy, pork, chicken, horticulture products, and fruit and vegetables are evident.