State Government to build tech and innovation centre in Rocky

Published Monday, 28 October, 2019 at 09:11 AM

Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development and Minister for Cross River Rail
The Honourable Kate Jones

The Palaszczuk Government will partner with Central Queensland University (CQU) to deliver an advance technology and innovation centre in Rockhampton under a new strategy designed to create jobs in the agricultural technology, mining and manufacturing industries in regional Queensland.

Today’s announcement coincides with the launch of the state government’s new Advance Queensland strategy – a blueprint for jobs growth over the next 20 years.

Member for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke said the $2.8 million partnership with CQU was a great win for Central Queensland.

“This is about preparing local students for great careers in mining, agriculture and manufacturing and helping them get out there into the workforce,” he said.

“These industries are vital to Queensland’s economy. New technology is changing the demands on workers – this new facility will make sure that our kids and grandkids have the skills they need to get great careers in these fields.”

Innovation Minister Kate Jones said this Rockhampton project would provide the building blocks for the future jobs in a range of disciplines including AgTech, manufacturing, mining, engineering and design.

“The work we do today with industry and tertiary institutions will keep jobs in Rockhampton,” she said.

“Funding announced today will be used to buy training equipment – like robots, drills and dozers to train students up on the cutting-edge technology they’ll be using out on the job.

“Mining, agriculture and manufacturing will be vitally important to Rockhampton for decades to come. This is a down payment for the future.”

CQUniversity Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Nick Klomp welcomed the Palaszczuk Government’s funding announcement.

“This funding commitment will allow CQUniversity to respond to the needs of industry with the provision of state-of-the-art teaching and training technologies with a specific focus on AgTech, manufacturing innovation, engineering, ICT and design,” Professor Klomp said.

“The one-stop centre will be accessible to the community, industry and schools who wish to engage with contemporary technologies, investigate new career opportunities and trial new business ventures providing value-add to the community.

“These types of opportunities not only support the advancement of innovative entrepreneurial practice and commercialisation opportunities but also job-creation within our communities.”

BHP Mitsubishi Alliance Asset President James Palmer said investment in future skills development in regional Queensland would support all sectors, including mining, to remain strong.

“A tech-driven future will wait for no-one,” Mr Palmer said.

“We’re harnessing technological advances, as an opportunity, and a responsibility. 

“This centre will prepare Queenslanders for that tech future, and aligns to our Queensland Future Skills Partnership with CQUniversity and TAFE Queensland announced earlier this year.”

Ask Me Technology Consultants Director Adrien Lang, whose family’s local cattle property has spanned five generations, said the new centre was a win-win for the cattle industry.

“As someone with personal connections with both the cattle industry and technology sector, I have been able to use my skills in technology to implement new-age technologies such as drones for mustering cattle,” Mr Lang said.

“To have this new centre available were we could explore other technologies that would benefit the beef and agriculture sector is a huge win for Central Queensland.”

Innovation Minister Kate Jones said the facility would be accessible by the community, industry and schools to engage with contemporary technologies, investigate new career opportunities and trial new business ventures.

“It’s not just about training. We want this place to be a hive of activity – with entrepreneurs testing out new technology and employers coming to poach the next generation of talent,” she said.

“This partnership with CQU will see the government link TAFE, university and high school graduates with some of the world’s leading employers.”

To find out more information on Queensland’s innovation future, read the Building Our Innovation Economy – Advance Queensland Strategy.

Media contact: Jack Harbour 0419 620 447