In a media release statement today, the Queensland Government is backing a $1 million collaborative agreement to spur innovation-led economic growth for Outback Queensland with funding through the Government’s $6 million Advancing Regional Innovation Program (ARIP).
Minister for Innovation Leeanne Enoch commended the Central Western Queensland Remote Area Planning and Development Board (RAPAD) in securing support to match the government funding of $500,000 over three years.
The Advance Queensland, a $420 million flagship initiative to drive innovation across the state and turn great ideas into new products, businesses and jobs, funding for the Outback Queensland Collaborative Innovation Project (OQCIP) will be equalled by support and funding from a collaborative group of 14 diverse local government and industry partners.
“The Palaszczuk Government’s Advancing Regional Innovation Program is supporting regional growth by encouraging grassroots activities and connecting communities, and strengthening the capabilities of innovative businesses around Queensland,” Enoch said.
“The OQCIP will focus on supporting and connecting startups and entrepreneurs in the Outback region and growing jobs for rural and remote Queenslanders.
“Our funding will support collaboration and encourage local entrepreneurs, business leaders and key industries to work together to innovate and strengthen the region’s economy.”
RAPAD will work with 14 diverse government and industry partners including: South West Regional Economic Development Incorporated, the McKinlay Shire Council, the Outback Queensland Tourism Association, the Local Government Association of Queensland, Telstra, Microsoft and three universities – James Cook University, Queensland University of Technology and Central Queensland University.
RAPAD CEO David Arnold said OQCIP would be managed through the RAPAD office in Longreach, but its activities would spread across the Central Western and South West regions and the McKinlay shire.
“We’ve had great support from universities, industry organisations and also state government agencies within and outside the region. They have all contributed to the development of this project,” Mr Arnold said.
“We have some major opportunities in this area. We’ve recently launched our Smart Central West Digital Strategy, and this funding will help deliver on the strategy and take us forward.
McKinlay Shire Mayor Belinda Murphy said there would be tremendous opportunities for businesses and the community in the region in the next two or three years as part of this project.
“We are really excited to be part of this with the RAPAD group,” Ms Murphy said.
“Technology and innovation is such a critical part of what we really need to progress, particularly in the remote regions.”
Under the ARIP, the Queensland Government is providing matched funding OF up to $500,000 to 12 regions: Outback Queensland, Far North Queensland, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, North Queensland, Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday, Fitzroy, Wide Bay Burnett, Darling Downs and Maranoa, Moreton Bay, Ipswich and West Moreton, Redlands and Logan.