There is no contest, Gympie should be chosen for the $10m
GYMPIE MP Tony Perrett yesterday cautiously welcomed the State Labor Government's announcement it will choose a regional town as a new fresh produce export hub.
"If the Government is truly genuine in helping regional centres to address unemployment than there is no better choice than Gympie,” Mr Perrett said. "Let's hope this decision is not already predetermined and that legitimate applications are fairly considered.
"This is the type of targeted infrastructure project which I have always advocated and argued for.
"It builds on our local strengths, our proximity local produce and producing areas to the north and south Burnett, and takes advantage of the skills, industries and businesses which are already here.
"We can easily access an abundant variety of agricultural, horticultural and fishing products including beef, pigs, dairy, seafood, and crops such as macadamias, beans, berries, mangos, avocadoes, olives and peanuts.
"The key to growing jobs and opportunities in our region is to value add to our local agricultural produce and take advantage of our transport corridors.
"There is no better example than local private enterprise investments which are already cashing in on our strengths and developing mainstream and boutique markets.
"Nolan's Meats produces a quality product for mainstream and niche markets both domestically and internationally.
"This project is supposed to be about access to multiple agricultural products, near a regional airport, and to address jobs and regional growth.
"Gympie ticks all the boxes.
"Our unemployment level of 8.4% is 2.3% above the state average, locals earn lower than average weekly earnings and we have the State's second worst pay packets with an average salary of $64,358.
"We are within 80km of an expanding regional airport which is the 14th busiest in Australia.
"We are ideally located on key transport corridors with the Bruce Highway upgrades to the Sunshine Coast already completed, and easy driving to major regional centres to the north and west through the Wide Bay Highway.
"Considering an hour's drive doesn't get you very far in the south east corner it can get you a whole lot more here in Gympie.
"I cannot think of a centre more suited to this project than Gympie and local applications should not be dismissed because of political imperatives,” he said.