February 2019

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Susan River Solar Farm opens

The $175 million Susan River Solar Farm near Maryborough has officially opened, and will soon add another 95 megawatts of renewable power to Queensland’s electricity system.

The $175 million Susan River Solar Farm near Maryborough has officially opened, and will soon add another 95 megawatts of renewable power to Queensland’s electricity system.

The project uses 290,000 panels to generate electricity, connected to the state’s power grid via a new Ergon Energy substation on the solar farm site.

It is owned by international investors Elliott Green Power, an affiliate of hedge fund Elliott Advisors (UK).

Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said Susan River was the twentieth renewable-generation project to come online in Queensland over the past 2 years, with another 13 large-scale projects under construction in Queensland.

‘These 13 large-scale projects will generate more than 1,200 megawatts, boost investment by around $2.5 billion and most importantly create more than 1,900 jobs during construction,’ Dr Lynham said.

Projects underway include Elliot Green Power’s other Queensland renewable project, the 75 megawatt Childers Solar Farm just 50km away.

The Childers project also recently completed construction and is in the early stages of commissioning.

More than 80% of the construction workforce for the Susan River project came from the local area.

It has the capacity to power about 40,000 homes when it reaches full generation.

Susan River Solar Farm was an initiative of Australian solar-farm developer ESCO Pacific.

Renewable energy is identified as one of the key sectors for investment attraction in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

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WTO negotiations on ecommerce continue

Members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) are continuing their discussions around the WTO’s ecommerce initiative.

Members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) are continuing their discussions around the WTO’s ecommerce initiative.

The initiative commits participating WTO members to negotiations on trade-related aspects of electronic commerce, with the goal of enhancing ecommerce benefits for businesses and consumers worldwide.

The initiative was launched in Buenos Aires in 2017.

The most recent meeting was held in Switzerland in January this year, where Australia, Japan and Singapore hosted an informal meeting of Ministers to discuss the initiative during the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting.

Ministers meeting in Switzerland exchanged views on how WTO negotiations can capture opportunities offered by ecommerce for business, consumers and the global economy.

They also discussed the unique ecommerce opportunities and challenges faced by particular members, including developing countries and micro, small and medium enterprises.

The WTO ecommerce negotiations are a key step towards bringing international trade rules into line with modern business practices.

Modern digital trade rules will also create a more open and predictable environment for businesses participating in the global digital economy.

After the Switzerland meeting, 76 WTO members representing more than 90% of global trade confirmed their intention to participate in the ecommerce negotiations.

TIQ is currently rolling out ecommerce workshops for SMES across Queensland as part of its Business growth essentials workshop series.

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Attracting funds to grow your business

If you’re an SME owner or manager looking to attract new dollars to help your business grow, join us at one of our Attract funding workshops rolling out across Queensland this month.

If you’re an SME looking to attract new dollars to help your business grow, join us at one of our Attract funding workshops rolling out across Queensland this month.

Presented by TIQ, the workshops are ideal for businesses wanting to expand domestically or in global markets.

Come along to a local workshop where you’ll:

  • learn how to assess what sort of investment or funding best suits your needs
  • get a basic understanding of investment and funding pathways
  • find out what investors, banks and governments are looking for when they make funding decisions.

SMEs are critical to the Queensland economy, accounting for 97.5% of all businesses in the state.

Yet many SMEs struggle to attract the funding they need to grow, whether it’s to purchase new equipment, increase inventory, engage in marketing or achieve some other goal.

In just two hours, the ‘Attract funding’ workshops will give you key insights to take practical steps towards securing the funds you need.

Workshops will be held in the following locations:

  • MARYBOROUGH — Tuesday 26 February 2019, 7.00am–9.00am
  • SUNSHINE COAST — Tuesday 26 February 2019, 10.00am–12.30pm
  • IPSWICH — Tuesday 26 February 2019, 11.30pm–1.30pm
  • TOWNSVILLE — Wednesday 27 February 2019, 7.30am–9.00am
  • CAIRNS — Thursday 28 February 2019, 7.30am–9.00.

Visit our workshop registration page for more information and to register.

The ‘Attract funding’ workshops are part of TIQ’s Business growth essentials workshop program for 2019, which will offer Queensland SMEs training in areas such as ecommerce, funding and investment attraction, business pitching, and developing cultural awareness for international markets.

The workshop program is an initiative of the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

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Business Growth grants – apply now

Queensland SMEs looking to expand and employ more staff are being invited to apply for grants of up to $50,000 to help grow their businesses.

Queensland SMEs looking to expand their business and employ more staff can apply for grants of up to $50,000 from the Queensland Government’s Business Growth Fund.

The fund helps small to medium-sized businesses buy and implement specialised equipment or services to help them seize growth opportunities.

Businesses need to demonstrate how a grant would help them move to the next stage of growth, and successful applicants must contribute 25%–50% of the total project cost.

Minister for Employment and Small Business Shannon Fentiman said that the grants could be used for services such as advice and mentoring as well as equipment.

‘The Business Growth Fund will provide targeted assistance so that businesses can purchase specialised equipment or access professional advice to help their business grow,’ she said.

‘We want more businesses to expand sustainably with expert advice and support, to provide Queenslanders with strong stable jobs.

‘This is a huge opportunity for Queensland businesses looking to take their business to the next level of growth, with more than $2 million in funding available.’

The Business Growth Fund is open to Queensland businesses with fewer than 50 employees and a minimum turnover of $500,000.

Applicants will go through a 2-stage assessment process, including a Shark Tank–style pitch during which they’ll have to put their plans to a panel of business experts.

Growth opportunities can include expanding into overseas markets through ecommerce or other export activities.

Applications have been open since mid-2018 and the assessment panel is expected to meet in the near future.

For more information, see the Business Growth Fund Guidelines and application form.

The Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022 includes a number of initiatives to support the state’s small to medium-sized enterprises.

If you’re a Queensland business interested in exporting your products, connect with TIQ to find out about the full range of services available to SMEs.

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Get in now for new QODE tech fest

Want to join other bright minds from around the world at Brisbane’s newest innovation celebration, or showcase your tech to potential investors from around the world?

Then you’ll be pleased to know that earlybird tickets and exhibitor applications are now open for the QODE innovation and technology event, coming to Brisbane for the first time this April.

Targeting entrepreneurial start-up and investment communities, QODE will feature:

  • seminars and workshops
  • the QODEX tech expo
  • presentations by some of the world’s brightest minds in technology and innovation.

Highlights will include:

Running 2–3 April at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, QODE is expected to attract more than 3,000 visitors from around the world, including tech industry leaders, government representatives and motivated investors.

It will feature 15 international speakers discussing the future business landscape, and offer space for around 100 start-up and established tech companies to showcase their products.

Described as stimulating, energising, disruptive and provocative, the QODE program will kick off with a launch party on 1 April.

Applications for exhibitor booths are now open, and earlybird visitor tickets at reduced rates are on sale until 28 February.

QODE is part of Brisbane’s larger Curiocity event, which also includes the World Science Festival in March.

Supporting start-ups and encouraging digital innovation are both priorities of the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

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Start or improve your online sales – fast

Sunshine Coast SMEs can get practical training to start or improve their online sales at an Explore ecommerce workshop being held at Maroochydore on 18 February.

SMEs can get practical training to start or improve their online sales at an Explore ecommerce workshop being held at Maroochydore on 18 February.

Shopping habits are changing dramatically worldwide, with more customers searching and buying online and fewer customers visiting retail stores as often as they used to.

This trend presents significant challenges but also huge opportunities for small to medium-sized businesses, with ecommerce platforms providing access to a global customer base that was previously out of reach.

This half-day workshop will present facts, tips and practical strategies to launch or improve your ecommerce presence and reach customers around the world, especially those in Asia.

Expert presenters will discuss:

  • what ecommerce can offer your business
  • how different ecommerce platforms work
  • opportunities in Asian markets
  • how to launch or increase your online sales with confidence.

Intensive coaching will also be offered to selected companies that are ready to launch ecommerce internationally in the very near future.

Presented by TIQ, Austrade and Sunshine Coast Council, the Maroochydore workshop is the first in a series of ecommerce workshops that will roll out across Queensland in coming months.

They are part of the Business growth essentials workshop program for 2019, which will offer Queensland SMEs training in areas such as ecommerce, funding and investment attraction, business pitching, and developing cultural awareness for international markets.

The workshop program is an initiative of the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

The ‘Explore ecommerce’ workshop will run from 10.20am to 2.30pm on Monday 18 February at the Maroochy RSL. Register now to secure your spot.

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Trade and Investment Strategy achieves major milestones

The Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022 has reached major milestones in its first year-and-a-half, with almost 90% of initiatives underway by the end of 2018.

The Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022 has reached major milestones in its first year-and-a-half, with almost 90% of initiatives underway by the end of 2018.

Launched in April 2017, the Strategy contains 22 initiatives designed to increase Queensland’s exports and attract new overseas investment.

As at 31 December 2018, 19 of the initiatives had passed the pilot phase or been implemented in full.

Strategy highlights so far include:

TIQ interim Chief Executive Officer Paul Martyn said the $35 million strategy would continue to make strong progress in 2019, with an expanded suite of training for regional businesses, a second round of the Developing Future Leaders program, greater insights for Queensland businesses through further international market reports, and improved digital services for TIQ’s clients.

‘I’m proud of the hard work that has been done so far to deliver on this important whole-of-government strategy to boost Queensland trade and investment outcomes,’ Mr Martyn said.

‘There’s still much work to be done to position Queensland strongly in the global market we’re competing in and take our innovative products and services to the world.’

To stay up to do date with all the Strategy news and stories, visit the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy website.

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Coral Sea institute works on global coeliac project

Clinical trials for global coeliac research will be the first project for a new research institute launched in Mackay.

Clinical trials for global coeliac research will be the first project for a new research institute launched in Mackay.

The Coral Sea Clinical Research Institute will conduct clinical trials for US-based pharmaceutical company ImmusanT, which is leading global trials on new coeliac vaccine Nexvax2.

The institute was officially opened on 1 February by ImmusanT CEO Ms Leslie Williams and Innovation Minister Kate Jones.

Minister Jones said that the Queensland trials could benefit millions of coeliacs, and would position the institute to conduct clinical trials for other international research projects.

‘Until now, the only effective treatment for coeliac disease was eliminating gluten from the diet – and that was never foolproof,’ she said.

‘The trials conducted at this institution will advance medical research and help many people worldwide.

‘The Queensland Government contributed $300,000 in seed funding to help establish this facility, and through this support, Queensland is playing a pivotal role in work that will take us a step closer to an effective treatment for coeliac disease.

‘Mackay will be well placed to join other multi-million-dollar global clinical trial programs.’

Dr James Daveson, a specialist in coeliac disease with clinical practices in Brisbane and Mackay, has been appointed Director of the institute and Principal Investigator for the coeliac trials.

Dr Bob Anderson, Chief Scientific and Medical Officer of ImmusanT, who led the development of the vaccine, was also present at the opening of the institute.

Biomedicine is identified as one of Queensland’s emerging export strengths in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

With TIQ’s support, Queensland biomedical companies pitched to international investors at the BIO International Convention in Boston last year.

Clinical trial services were also a focus of Trade 2018 business showcases coordinated by TIQ and Queensland Health in conjunction with the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018.

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International tourism hits record highs in Queensland

Queensland experienced record highs in both international visitor numbers and spending last year, according to recently released tourism data.

Queensland experienced record highs in both international visitor numbers and visitor spending last year, according to recently released tourism data.

The International Tourism Snapshot for the year ending September 2018 reveals that the number of international visitors to Queensland grew 4.6% to a record 2.8 million.

During the same period, spending by international visitors to Queensland rose 11.5% to a record $5.9 billion.

The largest numbers of visitors came from:

  • New Zealand
  • Asia (including China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia and Japan)
  • North America
  • Europe.

Queensland regions experiencing significant growth in international visitor numbers were:

  • Brisbane (up 9.7%)
  • the Sunshine Coast (up 8.5%)
  • Mackay (up 13.3%).

Across Queensland, the greatest market increases were in:

  • Chinese visitors (up 17.5%)
  • Indonesian visitors (up 15.5%)
  • Indian visitors (up 12.5%)
  • French visitors (up 12.1%).

Chinese visitors were the biggest spenders by a significant margin, injecting $1.4 billion into the Queensland economy, an increase of 33.1% from the previous year.

Big spending increases were also recorded among visitors from Singapore (up 30.8% to $167.6 million) and France (up 19.4% to $101.4 million).

Both New South Wales and Victoria also experienced record highs in international visitation and expenditure, while Tasmania also enjoyed a record high in visitor numbers.

Tourism is identified as Queensland’s highest value services export in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

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Screen Queensland studio complex opens in Brisbane

A new screen-production facility in the Brisbane suburb of Hemmant is expected to attract film and television productions from around Australia and the world.

A new screen-production facility in the Brisbane suburb of Hemmant is expected to attract film and television productions from around Australia and the world.

The recently opened Screen Queensland facility includes 2 soundstages and 2 warehouses, and will cater to producers of mid- to low-budget films, TV series, commercials, and on-demand videos.

The Hemmant complex will complement Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast, which are used almost exclusively for large-scale blockbusters.

Announcing the opening of the Hemmant facility in late January, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the new studios would help to inject more funds into the Queensland economy from Australian and international productions.

‘Last financial year, productions supported by my government generated an estimated $114 million of direct expenditure into the local economy and more than 1,500 jobs directly related to screen production,’ said the Premier.

‘Through our people, incentives, locations, and world-class facilities we have developed a strong international reputation for making world-class screen content, proven most recently with Aquaman grossing over $1 billion at the global box office.’

‘To meet the burgeoning demand from a thriving local and international production base, the new Brisbane studios operated by Screen Queensland will help with supply of soundstages and warehouses for set construction workshops, art department and short-term storage.’

The Queensland Government invested $12 million to repurpose 5 former warehouses on the Hemmant site to create the new studio facility, which is only 15km from Brisbane’s CBD.

As well as the soundstages and warehouses, the Gosport Street complex includes a production office, mixed-used building and parking for 200 vehicles.

Recent international projects filmed in Queensland include Paramount’s live-action Dora the Explorer, which completed filming at Village Roadshow Studios in late 2018.

Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Entertainment’s Godzilla vs. Kong and ABC Studios International TV series Reef Break are currently filming on the Gold Coast.

Attracting international investment to Queensland is one of the key goals of the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.