Sod-turning shovels haven’t even touched the $1.6 billion Toowoomba Second Range Crossing site, but wait until you see what’s breaking ground just over the road – literally.
Plans have been submitted to build an $80 million beef and milk processing plant beside the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing (TSRC) route.
Construction company FK Gardiner and Sons’ (FKG) have just submitted the plan for the facility to be built near Charlton, 10 kilometres west of Toowoomba.
Local media is reporting that if the application is approved, FKG plans to begin works on the 20,000 square metre processing facility next year and complete the project in 2017.
As for the TSRC – its $1.6 billion contract is due to be awarded in the next couple of months, with the three-year construction of the crossing scheduled to start mid-year.
The reference design for the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing has divided the planning into three sections:
- Gore Highway and Warrego Highway West – two lanes (single), 13.25km in length
- Warrego Highway West to Mort Street – three lanes (divided), 9.15 km in length
- Mort Street to Warrego Highway East – four lanes (divided), 18.6 km in length
This means the TSRC route runs right past FKG’s proposed job site – which is located centrally between the Gore Highway and Mort Street.
Construction work on the projects will run simultaneously.
But wait, there’s more just over the road - literally.
Less than 10km drive south of Charlton, on the other side of TSRC, is Wellcamp.
Construction of the Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport – Australia’s first airport in 44 years and costing more than $100m – has only recently been completed.
If the processing plant is built, it’s almost certain beef will be exported via the airport.
Evidently, Toowoomba is fast becoming a gold mine for construction work.
As discussed in previous posts (here, here, here and here), it’s going to be a combination of large-scale infrastructure projects that will bring the industry back from the depression left now the mining boom is over.
This region in particular demonstrates this.
FKG’s property development group manager, Dallas Hunter, agrees.
Mr Hunter told The Toowoomba Chronicle he hoped the investment would offset the void left by the slowdown in the gas industry.
"We're spreading the company as wide as we can as part of our risk management and diversification," Mr Hunter said, adding the facility would be built and operated with a commercial partner.
The Toowoomba Regional Council’s decision to approve the project will take months, according to Mayor Paul Antonio.
But if the Mayor’s comments on ABC Radio yesterday are anything to go by, we’re expecting a win for the construction industry.
He’s pledged support for the idea of food processing facilities and is expecting many similar multi-million-dollar proposals to come by his desk.
Mayor Antonio is also fully aware of the city’s prime position to become a food processing hub.
"With the advent of the airport, with the advent of the range crossing and with the possibility of the inland rail, it can only get better.”