The Palaszczuk Government is backing an almost $1.7 million collaborative agreement to drive innovation-led economic growth and job creation in the Fitzroy region through its $6 million Advancing Regional Innovation Program (ARIP).
Minister for Innovation Leeanne Enoch today (Thursday) congratulated the Central Highlands Development Corporation (CHDC) for securing nearly $1.2 million in funding from partners BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA), Central Queensland University, Rural Business Collective and C-Res (Qld) to match the government funding of $500,000 over three years.
“The Palaszczuk Government’s Advancing Regional Innovation Program (ARIP) is supporting regional growth by connecting communities, supporting innovative businesses and strengthening the capabilities of innovative businesses around Queensland,” Ms Enoch said.
“This collaborative project between the business, government and education sectors aims to build small business innovation capabilities in communities across the region, initially focusing on the AgTech and advanced manufacturing sectors, including the booming field of drones and robotics.”
Member for Mirani Jim Pearce said the Palaszczuk Government’s funding will support the delivery of programs, events and activities across a network of 13 regional communities.
“Under this collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship will be encouraged in places like Emerald, Blackwater, Capella, Dingo, Rolleston and Theodore,” Mr Pearce said.
“Innovation isn’t just something happening in our big cities. It is important people living in remote areas are able to participate in these programs, events and activities.”
Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga welcomed the announcement, which she said was “another plank in building the capabilities of regional firms to grow their businesses’.
“ARIP will also create new industries through ongoing training and facilitation of entrepreneurs and business leaders,” Mrs Lauga said.
“It shows the Palaszczuk Government continues to focus on business growth to create more jobs for more Queenslanders”.
Central Highlands Development Corporation Acting General Manger Liz Alexander said the funding would support CHDC, Central Highlands Regional Council, BMA, CQUniversity, Rural Business Collective and C-RES (Queensland) to boost the emergence and development of innovation and cross-regional collaboration.
“Regions need strong innovation and entrepreneurial skills to transform and grow their industries and businesses to a more diverse economic base for future opportunities,” Ms Alexander said.
“This funding will allow us to build on the strength of our inland communities and link them into the broader innovation networks outside the Fitzroy at the state, national and international levels.”
BMA Asset President Rag Udd said his organisation was looking forward to playing its part in supporting CHDC over the coming years.
“We are excited with the proactive, innovative, and dynamic approach the Central Highlands Development Corporation (CHDC) take to planning the future of the region and congratulate them on receiving this funding,” Mr Udd said.
Central Highlands Regional Council Mayor and CHDC Chair Kerry Hayes said this funding complemented the suite of partnerships in the region with the support from BMA, local and state government.
“This gives us the opportunity of working with the green shoots of technology in our region that are already growing strong,” Mr Hayes said. “This is a great thing and shows that government is backing our area and is giving us the support to grow.”
Rural Business Collective founder Fleur Anderson said the funding for the project will help create an ecosystem and support for businesses in the region.
“This will help us to enable the next wave of great businesses. We’ve long known there is potential in regional areas and through a project like this we will be able to encourage that”.
Under the ARIP, the Palaszczuk Government is providing matched funding up to $500,000 to 12 regions: Fitzroy, Far North Queensland, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, North Queensland, Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday, Outback Queensland, Wide Bay Burnett, Darling Downs and Maranoa, Moreton Bay, Ipswich and West Moreton, Redlands and Logan.
Advance Queensland is the Palaszczuk Government’s $420 million flagship initiative to drive innovation across the state and turn great ideas into new products, businesses and jobs.
Visit the Advancing Regional Innovation Program for more details on ARIP, or contact Liz Alexander of the Central Highlands Development Corporation on 0429 471 511 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.