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Curtis Pitt talks jobs, exports and new QPC inquiry

PITT STOP: Queensland Treasurer and acting Premier Curtis Pitt toured the Gracemere Saleyards last night alongside TopX Gracemere's Brad Mulvill, as he announced the Queensland Productivity Commissions inquiry into the manufacturing and agricultural sector.
PITT STOP: Queensland Treasurer and acting Premier Curtis Pitt toured the Gracemere Saleyards last night alongside TopX Gracemere's Brad Mulvill, as he announced the Queensland Productivity Commissions inquiry into the manufacturing and agricultural sector. Amber Hooker

THE Queensland Treasurer came loaded with words, but with empty pockets as he stopped into Gracemere last night.

Acting Premier Curtis Pitt's visit to the Gracemere Saleyards immediately followed a visit to the Port of Gladstone to inspect the site of planned expansion projects.

But his stopover in Rockhampton centred on the official announcement of a Queensland Productivity Commission inquiry into the state's traditional manufacturing sector, including the agricultural sector.

He said there was an opportunity in Central Queensland to "exploit export" opportunities, drawing of the example of the beef industry's potential to meet the strong demand from Asian and other export markets.

 

TopX Gracemere's Brad Mulvihill in the pen with Queensland Treasurer and acting Premier Curtis Pitt and one of the bull's from yesterday's Charbray sale at the Gracemere Saleyards.Photo Amber Hooker / CQ News
TopX Gracemere's Brad Mulvihill in the pen with Queensland Treasurer and acting Premier Curtis Pitt and one of the bull's from yesterday's Charbray sale at the Gracemere Saleyards.Photo Amber Hooker / CQ News Amber Hooker

He said the inquiry would offer Central Queensland producers the opportunity to have their say on the industry as the QPC conduct the inquiry, due for completion in August 2017.

"Some of the statistics suggest that over the next 15 years we may see around 40% of current jobs as they exist today either change or disappear altogether," he said.

"That's obviously terrifying to some and exciting to others because there will be new jobs that will come.

"My message is that this inquiry is looking at how we can continue to support existing industries, existing manufacturers, and help them transition into the new economy, and of course make sure we don't lose sight of those niche opportunities that sometimes come our way."

With export a strong focus, The Morning Bulletin questioned Mr Pitt over whether opening the Rockhampton Airport to international export was a viable option.

He did not rule it out.

Mr Pitt said while costings needed to be put forward, examples of international airports in regional Queensland demonstrated there was a greater opportunity for export in the state.

He drew on the example of Toowoomba's Wellcamp Airport, privately built by the Wagner family.

"In a similar way there is no reason to suggest you couldn't have an upgrade in the airport in Rockhampton to do the same thing, of course it would depend on a number of factors including availability of finance and the willingness to look at that," he said.

He said some "very big thought" was needed to determine whether the opportunity, on top of existing industries in the region, provided a catalyst fur such an upgrade.

"But again I am not aware of the costings of that, I am not aware of what that would look like except to say there are other regions which have certainly put their best foot forward and seen greater opportunity for export including the development of airports."

 

 

TopX Gracemere's Brad Mulvihill talks business with Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt during his visit to the Gracemere Saleyards yesterday.Photo Amber Hooker / CQ News
TopX Gracemere's Brad Mulvihill talks business with Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt during his visit to the Gracemere Saleyards yesterday.Photo Amber Hooker / CQ News Amber Hooker

Mr Pitt also shared the Palaszczuk Government's long-term vision for job creation over three decades, and cited his June budget as a means to address the immediate demand for jobs.

"So the budget I handed down in June included a $40 billion infrastructure program over the next four years," he said.

"In 2016-17 alone that is going to be a $10.7 billion program expected to support around 31,000 jobs in Queensland."

He said the government were focused on spending and securing external investment and c apital to support infrastructure development.

"So we are certainly doing a lot as a Government to continue to push state infrastructure projects forward - state infrastructure plan covers the now right through to the next 15 years."

Topics:  agriculture, curtis pitt, export, gracemere saleyards, jobs, manufacturing, queensland politics, queensland productivity commission, rockhampton airport



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