The Turbine Precinct – Australia’s first purpose built, end-to-end collaborative food and beverage manufacturing precinct – will position the Sunshine Coast as an epicentre for supporting food and beverage businesses to scale with the support of an $8.78 million government grant.
Funding from the Modern Manufacturing Initiative Translation stream was awarded to the collaborative project, which is being led by the Food and Agribusiness Network (FAN).
The Turbine Precinct will be located at the Sunshine Coast Airport. It will be designed to drive innovation, reduce barriers to scale, increase productivity for food and beverage manufacturers and open new national and international export markets. This will be achieved through collaboration around common-use infrastructure and manufacturing services, a research and development facility, warehousing and logistics, an expertise hub and an industry-embedded training centre.
With strong support from key stakeholders, FAN and the Queensland Drinks Accelerator have led the collaborative funding submission.
CEO of the Food and Agribusiness Network, Emma Greenhatch was excited to reveal the preliminary plans for the innovative manufacturing hub that FAN have been advocating for the past five years.
“We’re delighted by the federal government’s support of the Turbine project through the announcement of this funding,” Greenhatch said.
“The vision of the Turbine Precinct is to create a blueprint for the future of Australian food and beverage manufacturing, where industry, research, government and education and training providers collectively unlock growth and drive innovation.
“Over the past six years FAN has created a unique, collaborative ecosystem to support the growth of the food and agribusiness industry in the greater Sunshine Coast region. Turbine will take this to the next level, providing advanced manufacturing capability, critical services and education and training to turbocharge industry growth.”
The Turbine Precinct will have significant impact for the region’s beverage businesses.
“Our export-ready facility will work with co-located beverage businesses and a range of contract customers – from Queensland start-ups to global beverage brands,” Queensland Drinks Accelerator (QDA) founder Simon Michelangeli said.
“Collaboration between a broad range of like-minded partners will create an end-to-end innovation ecosystem that will enable us to develop and commercialise new products and help high growth potential businesses to scale to achieve national distribution and open up export markets.”
The funding announcement will launch the beverage manufacturing sector on the Sunshine Coast sky high, Federal member for Fairfax Ted O’Brien said.
“The Turbine Precinct’s unique end-to-end, collaborative design will transform the food and beverage manufacturing sector on the Sunshine Coast and draw international attention,” O’Brien said.
“This model is an Australian-first. The Turbine Precinct will provide local food and beverage businesses with end-to-end support, and it will be the envy of the world.
“This Federal funding directly supports the development of the Turbine Precinct’s common use infrastructure, collaborative manufacturing services and research capabilities,” he said.
“This means that local start-ups will have access to the equipment and resources required to go to market and the advanced infrastructure and networks to scale globally.”
Basing the facility at the Sunshine Coast Airport will give local businesses the unique ability to more easily access domestic and international markets and leverage a range of Free Trade Agreements that the federal government has recently secured.
Sunshine Coast Airport chief executive officer, Andrew Brodie, welcomed the funding announcement.
“The opportunity to have Australia’s first purpose-built food and manufacturing facility located at our airport will directly benefit our community through the jobs and business growth it creates,” Brodie said.
“While we are still in the initial planning stages, we are excited by the opportunities this will create for our region and this facility is consistent with our vision for the airport as outlined in our Airport Master Plan 2040.”
Planning is underway for the Turbine Precinct due to commence operations later in 2023 with an initial focus on beverage manufacturing. The Precinct will evolve to include advanced food manufacturing from 2024 onwards.
The project is supported by key stakeholders including the University of the Sunshine Coast, Sunshine Coast Council, Regional Development Australia Sunshine Coast, Sunshine Coast Business Council and Food Innovation Australia Ltd.