Why new statistics bode well for region’s export future
TOOWOOMBA and the Darling Downs is well-placed to cash in on an appetite for Queensland resource and agriculture exports, according to the region's peak economic lobby group.
Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise CEO Ali Davenport's comments come after new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed improvements to coal, natural gas and beef exports nationally in November 2019.
The statistics showed beef hit a record high of $1.04 billion, while natural gas exports nationally for the month cracked the $4 billion mark.
With exports from the resource sector and agriculture together worth $3.6 billion to the region in 2018/19 based on data collected by ID Community, Ms Davenport said there were plenty of opportunities ahead for the Darling Downs.
"I expect our exports to increase over the next five to 10 years in our region," she said.
TSBE runs the Southern Queensland Innovation in Export Hub, which helps small and medium businesses access overseas markets, while last year Wagner Corportation also received funds to established a regional trade distribution centre at Wellcamp Airport.
Ms Davenport said the establishment of key infrastructure was the next step to help the region realise its export potential.
"We at TSBE are looking at any food and agribusiness who wants to export its products," she said.
"We had a recent win on our trip to Vietnam (in March 2019) - very interesting and positive outcomes that have come from that trip for grain and engineering equipment.
"Those companies look like they're going to be able to export their products to Vietnam soon.
"The other opportunity is the Wellcamp export centre.
"With exporting, especially with food, you've got to be able to ensure the orders are on-time, every time.
"If we can consolidate growers together (on flights), it means there is more reliability."
Ms Davenport noted the ongoing challenge of the drought as a major risk to growth in regional exports.
"The drought is obviously our biggest challenge, and that is going to impact us for years to come," she said.
"We need to look at long-term water security."
Ms Davenport also pointed out that the state's investment in natural gas production, particularly for exporting, had created infrastructure vital to transmitting electricity across the country produced by renewable energy projects.
"The infrastructure is now in place there thanks to investment from the gas industry," she said.
"It means we can put renewables in there - we have all the transmission infrastructure in place.
"Other regions can produce renewables, but they can't transmit it. I see renewables as absolutely vital to the future.
"We need to generate more electricity from greener resources, and we could be the renewable capital of Australia."
Other major industry exports for Australia during November including non-monetary gold, oil, aluminium, copper and alcohol.