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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Innovators invited to Townsville’s world-first reef hackathon

    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Thursday, March 23, 2017

    Innovators invited to Townsville’s world-first reef hackathon

    Innovative thinkers are invited to tackle the water quality and climate change problems affecting the Great Barrier Reef, while learning problem-solving skills, at a world-first creative hackathon in Townsville this week.

    Hack the Reef will be held on Saturday (25 March) at Townville’s Innovation HQ and was devised by Queensland’s innovation festival, Myriad.

    A hackathon is a team-based event where groups explore innovative solutions to difficult problems. Hackathons are increasingly being used to drive innovation in solving complex problems. 

    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business Leeanne Enoch said Hack the Reef was a creative regional concept which would yield positive rewards for attendees.

    “I’ve been told the problems of the Great Barrier Reef been never before been tackled at a hackathon,” Ms Enoch said.  

    “We don’t yet know what solutions the hackathon will devise but hackathons have been known to generate genius ideas.

    “At the least, the event will upskill around 60 attendees with the latest design-led thinking, which they can use to improve their respective businesses and academic interests.”

    Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said researchers, academics and other creative thinkers had already registered their attendance.

    “And those involved will be invited to use their ingenuity, education and innovation to solve the coral bleaching and water quality problems experienced by the Reef,” Mr Stewart said.

    “Five thought leaders are bringing their ideas to the hackathon to facilitate discussions and harness the diverse skills of Hack the Reef participants.

    “The event will match people with different skills and strengths to people with the breakthrough ideas; moving these ideas from conception to reality.”

    Queensland Chief Scientist Professor Suzanne Miller said she was keen to hear “new and innovative ideas’ from participants.

    “Dr Geoff Garrett, my esteemed colleague and former Queensland Chief Scientist, chaired the Great Barrier Reef Water Science Taskforce that provided the State Government with recommendations for improving reef water quality,” she said.

    “As part of its innovation findings, the Taskforce supported running special purpose hackathons. I am keen to hear the new and innovative ideas that Hack the Reef participants come up with, as it’s vital the reef is saved for our children, grandchildren and beyond.”

    Minister for the Great Barrier Reef Steven Miles praised Myriad festival organisers for helping to make the Taskforce’s vision a reality.

    “We are fully engaged in implementing new projects to protect the reef with an extra $90 million being spent over four years, but we need everyone involved if we are going to make a difference,” Mr Miles said.

    “Hopefully, participants will develop some out of the box solutions that provide a fresh approach to delivering the major on-ground changes we need.”

    Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland Coralee O’Rourke said working to protect and improve the health of the Great Barrier Reef was everyone’s business.

    “The Reef is undeniably the jewel in the crown of North Queensland, and it’s our responsibility to ensure future generations can enjoy it too,” Mrs O’Rourke said.

    “Hack the Reef will bring together forward thinkers to consider innovative ways we can do just that. I look forward to hearing their new ideas.”

    James Cook University Research Professor Allan Dale said Hack the Reef had the potential to draw together many “diverse thinkers around possible solutions to maintaining and improving the health of the Great Barrier Reef.”

    “While coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef is a natural phenomenon, related to water temperature, climate change has the potential to increase the frequency and severity of the Reef’s bleaching events,” he said.

    Myriad, delivered by Myriad Technology Conferences in partnership with the Palaszczuk Government, will be held at the Brisbane Powerhouse from March 29-31.

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