The Queensland Government has announced it is ramping up funding for its Advance Queensland innovation and jobs plan from $180 million to $405 million in today’s budget, “accelerating” the initiative and turning it into a “whole-of-government innovation agenda.”
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk unveiled the plan yesterday, saying, “I’m determined to make Queensland Australia’s innovation leader, which is why I have dramatically increased our investment and broadened our focus to embrace opportunities across the economy.”
Palaszczuk said Advance Queensland is key to the state’s economic diversity.
“We are backing the innovators – startups, small business, school kids, farmers, scientists, researchers, tradespeople, engineers, doctors, teachers – because that will create a new era of opportunity for Queenslanders.”
The additional $225 million in funding will be distributed among 13 new initiatives under the Advance Queensland umbrella, with a focus on growing the small business and tourism sectors.
As such, the Advancing Small Business Queensland Strategy will receive $22.7 million with a further $10 million for the Platform Technology Program, which will look to develop new platform technologies for business in areas such as drones, big data, and Internet of Things.
Looking to tourism, $6 million will be spent on regional innovation hubs, with a further $10 million for the Cairns Innovation Centre at James Cook University, and $33.5 million for Advance Queensland: Connecting with Asia, a tourism package aiming to grow jobs in regional Queensland.
“We know tourism is a key industry for Queensland, and we will work to secure more international air routes, create innovative tourism products, and drive digital connection,” Palaszczuk said.
The Government will also look to bolster the state’s existing strengths and support emerging opportunities through a $40 million Industry Attraction Fund, which Palaszczuk said will be used to attract “innovative, job-creating industries” to Queensland. A further $9 million will be spent on industry accelerators, and almost $20 million for a Queensland Biofutures 10 year Roadmap and Action Plan.
With STEM education in schools also key, $7.1 million will go to a ‘global schools’ initiative, which will look to grow the study of Asian languages, new technology teaching programs, and enable schools to partner with others around the world, and $3.3 million towards ‘Schools for the future’, a program encouraging students to study STEM subjects.
Furthering its commitment to building for the future the Government said it will invest $35 million in an Integrated Healthcare Fund and $25 million for a Clinical Genomics Service, enabling hospitals to improve efficiency in health service delivery and conduct cutting edge research.
Leeanne Enoch, Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy, and Minister for Small Business, said the increased funding reinforces the importance of innovation to Queensland’s future and “further backs it in every part of the economy and all over the state.”
She said, “Our major industries and our regions are incredibly innovative – we want to harness this energy to build the new economy.”
The new funding comes two months after the Advance Queensland Summit, where Palaszczuk announced the government would be putting $4 million from its Advance Queensland fund towards the development of an innovation precinct in Brisbane.
Also announced at the summit was the launch of an $8 million Hot DesQ program, an initiative looking to encourage national and global startups to relocate to Queensland, showcasing the state as the gateway to the Asia-Pacific.
Image: Leeanne Enoch.