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    Minister for Disability Services, Minister for Seniors and Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland
    The Honourable Coralee O'Rourke

    Northern Queensland the top spot for food and research innovation

    Minister for Disability Services, Minister for Seniors and Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland
    The Honourable Coralee O'Rourke

    Thursday, March 03, 2016

    Northern Queensland the top spot for food and research innovation

    A forum encouraging commercially driven collaboration and innovation across North Queensland’s food and agribusiness industries has been held in Townsville today, bringing together national and international stakeholders.

    Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland Coralee O’Rourke officially opened the Northern Queensland Food Innovation Forum and promoted the region’s potential to house the Co-operative Research Centre (CRC) for Developing Northern Australia.

    “The Federal Government announced the establishment of the CRC in their White Paper on Developing Northern Australia to encourage businesses, governments and researchers to work together to identify opportunities for growth,” Mrs O’Rourke said

    “The CRC will be industry-led, located in the north, with a focus on collaborative research to deliver commercial opportunities in areas such as agriculture, food and tropical health.

    “Considering that the population of North Queensland represents around 75 per cent of Northern Australia, it makes perfect sense that the CRC is based on our turf.

    “That’s the argument I took to the Federal Government in Canberra last month, on a delegation with Mayors representing Councils from across North Queensland.

    “There are also significant economic benefits, such as our strong academic sector, international connectivity, diverse economy and industry expertise.”

    Mrs O’Rourke said North Queensland’s agri-business accounted for a large part of the State’s economy, and the establishment of the CRC in the North would help to grow the local economy.

    “As a North Queenslander, I know how important the agriculture and food industries are for our region,” Mrs O’Rourke said.

    “Almost 83 per cent of Queensland is used for agricultural production, farming and grazing – the largest agricultural land in any Australia state – and the industry employs one in seven working Queenslanders.

    “With the current downward trend in the resources sector, these industries are more important to our economy and the overall wellbeing of our communities, than ever before.”

    Mrs O’Rourke said the Palaszczuk Government had been working closely with the Federal Government to explore opportunities arising from the White Papers on agricultural competitiveness and northern development.

    “The time is right for action in the north, and we are doing all we can to ensure North Queensland receives its fair share of funding through the White Paper process,” Mrs O’Rourke said.

    “My priority is to ensure North Queensland reaches its full potential as a great place to live, work and do business.”

    Media Contact:                                  Minister O’Rourke’s office                  3719 7184