The QLD Government has announced plans to build a $14.5 million commercial drone flight testing facility at Cloncurry Airport, Queensland to bring high-technology industry to the North and generate more jobs.
Construction of the new facility will begin in early 2020.
The facility will be built on airport land and will include a hangar, operation room and surveillance radar and communications equipment. The QLD Government will invest $14.5 million in the first stage of the facility.
The facility will test small-to-medium sized drones weighing between 30-150 kg.
During the initial stages of operation, drones will make test flights over short distances of up to 25 km along a designated flight path away from built-up areas.
The Boeing Company will be the first to conduct trials at the facility and is set to create an exciting new aerospace industry for the region.
Boeing Director of Phantom Works International, Shane Arnott says the company is looking forward to using the flight facility in 2020 to safely and securely test the latest advances in unmanned systems technology.
“The creation of what will be one of the world’s largest commercial unmanned flight test facilities is critical to establishing Australia as a global leader in autonomous technology,” Dr Arnott says.
Drone capital to create jobs
“The Palaszczuk Government is creating more jobs in more industries, bringing world-class, cutting-edge aerospace technology to the Queensland outback,” says Minister for State Development and Minister responsible for the Queensland Drone Strategy Cameron Dick.
“Our government was the first in Australia to launch a drone strategy, and now we’re well on the way to becoming the nation’s drone technology capital,” adds Mr Dick.
“This will create a hub for aerospace R&D that will be a new high-tech industry for the region, to create jobs and boost the local and state economy,” agrees Mayor of Cloncurry, Cr Greg Campbell.
The venture is part of a government strategy to support a diverse economy in the North West and create more jobs for locals. The facility will support the government’s North West Queensland Economic Diversification Strategy Implementation Plan 2019-2021.
“This facility will create 65 jobs during construction and bring ongoing benefits to the region,” says Premier and Minister for Trade Annastacia Palaszczuk. “It’s just one of 13 innovative diversification initiatives that tap into the potential of the North West, and further proof that by working together with local councils and the community, we can grow Queensland’s economy.”