April 2018

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Queensland products on show for Comm Games

Premium foods and beverages from Queensland producers were on display to international food buyers at a recent showcase held in conjunction with the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Premium foods and beverages from Queensland producers were on display to international food buyers at a recent showcase held in conjunction with the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Nineteen Queensland firms marketed their products to buyers from the Middle East, South East Asia, China and Korea at the Food Buyer’s Showcase at Brookwater Golf Course near Ipswich on 5 April.

The showcase was part of the Trade 2018 program being run for international businesspeople visiting the Gold Coast for the Commonwealth Games.

Queensland products on show ranged from luxury chocolate brownies to weight-loss products, and from indigenous bush foods to bakery products, healthy snacks and dairy-free cheese.

Overseas buyers attending were sourcing products for supermarkets, food-service supply to cafes and restaurants, and gift-giving seasons.

The event was the latest in a series of annual food showcases coordinated by TIQ’s Food and Agribusiness team, designed to bring Queensland suppliers together with international buyers.

Last year’s showcase resulted in a series of deals for Queensland companies, including orders from a Hong Kong health food chain for honey from Bush Honey Australia and natural skincare products from Summer Land Camel Farm.

Supporting Queensland exporters is a priority of the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

Queensland companies participating in the 2018 Brookwater showcase were:

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Survey finds 20% of Oz start-ups in Queensland

One-fifth of Australia’s start-ups are based in Queensland, making it the country’s second-most popular location for innovative businesses, according to the latest Startup Muster report.

One-fifth of Australia’s start-ups are based in Queensland, making it the country’s second-most popular location for innovative businesses, according to the latest Startup Muster report.

Startup Muster 2017 collated data from more than 1,000 early-stage businesses working in the field of emerging technology and other innovations.

The report found that Queensland was home to 20.8% of the start-ups surveyed, with 15.2% in Brisbane and 5.6% in other Queensland locations.

This was well ahead of Victoria at 14.4%, and second only to New South Wales, which was home to 44% of the start-ups surveyed.

Other key findings from the report included:

  • QUT and University of Queensland were both in the top 10 educational institutions attended by survey respondents
  • 35.7% of start-up founders were born outside of Australia
  • 16.1% of start-ups had attracted overseas investment, and almost 30% had received some kind of grant or scholarship
  • the five most common sectors for start-ups were fintech, education, internet of things, artificial intelligence, and media and marketing.

Supporting Queensland start-ups is one of the actions identified in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

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New international student panel appointed

International students from 11 countries will contribute their thoughts on overseas education in Queensland following their appointment to the 2018 Queensland International Student Advisory Panel.

International students from 12 countries will contribute their thoughts on overseas education in Queensland following their appointment to the 2018 Queensland International Student Advisory Panel (QISAP).

Panel members will use their own experiences as international students to advise the Queensland Government on ways to enhance the student experience.

The students live and study in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Toowoomba, Townsville and Cairns, representing Queensland’s widespread study locations.

They met for the first time in Brisbane on 5 March, attending a full-day induction program where they were able to network with key government and industry partners.

Estefania Arteta, who was also a member of the 2017 QISAP, said she was looking forward to building on the good work from last year.

‘We have the ability to take what was learned last year and apply it to have an even greater impact to international student experiences,’ she said.

‘I’m excited to see what we can achieve.’

This year QISAP will focus on three key areas affecting the student experience – employability, accommodation and transport.

QISAP members will also be responsible for working with TIQ’s International Education and Training Unit (IETU) to design another successful International Students Meet Parliament event and International Student Leaders Forum in October.

IETU Executive Director Rebecca Hall said that QISAP provided unique insights into the overseas student experience in Queensland.

‘QISAP is a unique model of student engagement and governance and we are proud to be delivering our second year of the program,’ she said.

‘Designing solutions for students by students is a powerful tool, and we are delighted that another 12 students will volunteer their time to work with us in 2018.’

QISAP is an initiative of the International Education and Training Strategy to Advance Queensland 2016–2026.

International education is identified as Queensland’s second-most valuable services export in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

Appointed QISAP members

  • Estefania Arteta, Brisbane – Colombia
  • Asraz Aslam Cassim, Toowoomba – Sri Lanka
  • Kira Brereton, Cairns – Canada
  • Mona Izzeldin, Gold Coast – Sudan
  • Emma Jeskanen, Townsville – Finland
  • Kritesh Patel, Brisbane – India
  • Sebastian Romhany, Townsville – Venezuela
  • Jermaine Rusike, Gold Coast – Zimbabwe
  • Calvin Xu, Gold Coast – China
  • Ocean Yeung, Brisbane – Hong Kong

Participating executive officers from the Council of International Students Australia

  • Florian Spalthoff – Germany
  • Vincent Tawiah – Ghana
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Rheinmetall Boxer win benefits Queensland firms

Queensland businesses are set to benefit following the announcement that Rheinmetall Defence Australia has been chosen to deliver the $5.2 billion LAND 400 Phase 2 contract for the Australian Defence Force.

Queensland businesses are set to benefit following the announcement that Rheinmetall Defence Australia has been chosen to deliver the $5.2 billion LAND 400 Phase 2 contract for the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

Under the contract, German-headquartered Rheinmetall will manufacture 211 Boxer combat reconaissance vehicles (CRVs) for the ADF at a new facility to be established near Ipswich, using local Rheinmetall staff and selected local suppliers.

The Boxer CRV will replace the Australian Light Armoured Vehicle currently used by the ADF.

Rheinmetall Defence Australia Managing Director Gary Stewart said that Rheinmetall’s Queensland-based Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) would be of global significance to the company.

‘We are committed to transferring expertise and advanced military technology into Australia and creating an industrial hub of research and development,’ he said.

‘[It] will create a strong sovereign military vehicle capability that will be globally competitive for infantry fighting vehicle programs worldwide.’

The MILVEHCOE at Redbank Industrial Estate will be Rheinmetall’s biggest presence outside of Germany.

Mr Stewart said South East Queensland was a natural choice for the centre, given its proximity to Australia’s largest Army presence, its skilled and ready workforce, and the ecosystem of high-tech defence companies already here.

Queensland Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said attracting Rheinmetall to Queensland would have major benefits for the Queensland economy, including the creation of export opportunities.

‘The LAND 400 Phase 2 contract to deliver the next generation of combat reconnaissance vehicles to the Australian Army is a catalytic project, and attracting a global defence giant like Rheinmetall to Queensland will create opportunities for local industry for decades to come,’ he said.

‘This landmark project is an economic game-changer that will create 450 advanced manufacturing and engineering jobs for Queenslanders and pump $1 billion into the state’s economy in the first 10 years.’

Rheinmetall recently signed its first global supply chain agreement with the ADF, which gives Australian companies greater access to its international supply chain.

Local companies NIOA, G&O Kert and Hilton Manufacturing all have existing teaming agreements with Rheinmetall.

The decision to select Rheinmetall followed a three-year tender and testing process that assessed the Boxer CRV as the most capable vehicle for the Australian Defence Force.

The defence and aerospace sector is identified as one of Queensland’s growing export priorities in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

If you’re a Queensland company looking to access Rheinmetall’s global supply chain, contact TIQ or Defence Industries Queensland.

Update 14 May: Watpac has been announced as managing contractor for construction of the new centre at Redbank. 

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Central Highlands agribus exports thriving

A new agribusiness report and action plan for Queensland’s Central Highlands say that the region is one of the state’s strongest in terms of agricultural output for domestic and export produce.

A new agribusiness report and action plan for Queensland’s Central Highlands say that the region is one of the state’s strongest in terms of agricultural output for domestic and export produce.

Commissioned by the Central Highlands Development Corporation, the two documents – Central Highlands Agribusiness Capability Statement and CHAA Strategic Activities and Partnership Opportunities 2018 – document the breadth and depth of agriculture across the region and outline initiatives to carry the industry forward.

Central Highlands Mayor Kerry Hayes said the new report demonstrated that the region’s agricultural sector was diverse and growing significantly faster than the national average.

‘We have brought together the latest statistical data and industry knowledge to showcase our commodities, our infrastructure, our resources and our people,’ he said.

‘Horticulture, beef and livestock, broad-acre grains, pulses and cotton are all part of the regional mix, with the average value generated per hectare increasing at a cumulative growth rate of 12% compared to 6% nationally.

‘Such growth rates are only achieved through innovation, collaboration, and an understanding of the markets, with two-thirds of the produce from this region going to export.’

Main findings from the capability statement include:

  • key drivers of agricultural value in the region are beef, cereal and pulses
  • niche and emerging crops include macadamias, melons, lychees, figs and potatoes
  • regional advantages include a secure, quality water supply and a concentration of freight and logistics facilities
  • 68% of Central Highlands produce is exported, mostly to the USA and Asian markets.

The Central Highlands region covers around 60,000km2 in Central Queensland, taking in Emerald, Blackwater, Rolleston, Springsure and surrounding areas.

The two documents were launched on 19 March and are available for download.

The food and agribusiness sector is identified as one of Queensland’s traditional export strengths in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

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Karumba port channel to be deepened

The Port of Karumba channel in Far North Queensland will be dredged and deepened again following news that mining company New Century Resources will recommence shipping operations through Karumba from October this year.

The Port of Karumba channel in Far North Queensland will be dredged and deepened again following news that mining company New Century Resources (NCR) will recommence export operations from Karumba in October this year.

The new $6.8 million dredging program will begin in coming months to create a channel depth of 3.2m.

The Karumba port channel was developed to facilitate Century Mine operations in 1999.

Ongoing annual maintenance dredging of the channel was previously undertaken by Ports North, with the cost recovered from Century Mine, until the resources company suspended export operations through the port in 2016.

In 2016, the Queensland Government funded a $1.7 million maintenance dredging campaign to ensure continued security of the cattle trade out of the port.

Since then, Ports North has been working with NCR, who took over the Century facilities in 2017, to re-establish transhipment operations through the Port of Karumba.

Ports North Chairman Russell Beer said the agreement was good news for all who used the port, and for the economy.

‘Ports North and New Century Resources have come up with a viable channel maintenance agreement for the Port of Karumba,’ he said.

‘It’s terrific news for the region’s port users, and for the economic sustainability of the Port of Karumba.’

NCR Managing Director Patrick Walta said the new operation would be carrying the baton for exports from the Century Mine and would require the same channel depth and infrastructure.

‘It means the port user community in Karumba will have consistent, reliable channel access for years to come,’ he said.

‘Also, part of our operations will be improving and developing infrastructure to attract new industry.

‘The North West Mineral Province is one of the richest in the world, and we see Century as becoming a regional hub for the incredible assets of the region.’

NCR’s projected annual export volume is 300,000–400,000 tonnes over an estimated mine life of 6.5 years.

NCR will provide a $2 million upfront contribution to the dredging prior to work commencing, while Ports North will lend the remaining amount. This will be paid back by NCR on completion of the project.

Port infrastructure is critical to Queensland’s successful export of mineral resources and many other products.

The Queensland Government committed $75 million last year for a channel-widening project at the Port of Townsville, which has now received the necessary environmental approvals.

Resources are identified as one of Queensland’s traditional export strengths in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

March 2018

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Laying foundation for Queensland–Brazil research

Key players from Queensland universities visited Brazil this month to explore the potential for academic and research collaborations with Brazilian partners.

Key players from Queensland universities visited Brazil this month to explore the potential for academic and research collaborations with Brazilian partners.

Nine Queensland academics and researchers joined members of TIQ’s Latin America team on the Study Queensland mission, meeting with counterparts from leading Brazilian universities, research institutions and government agencies.

The main goal of the mission was to identify collaborative opportunities for Queensland institutions arising from the Brazilian government’s new Program for Internationalisation of Brazilian Higher Education and Research Institutions (PRiNT).

The new program aims to build research capacity in Brazilian universities through international partnerships.

Leading the Queensland delegation was Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner for Latin America Alex Pessagno, who said that the mission had been a major step forward in building relationships.

‘Our group spent around a week meeting with strategic partners, including national ministries for education, science and technology, research funding bodies, and leading universities and research institutes,’ he said.

‘The program also included academic and research workshops where we explored joint projects in the areas of water and environment, tropical agriculture, and energy – areas where Brazil and Queensland share challenges.

‘Specific ideas included PhD student and researcher exchanges, and joint projects with the universities and research institutes across Brazil.’

Mr Pessagno said that Queensland and Brazil shared many similarities in terms of tropical climate and resources, making it natural for them to collaborate.

‘I think we will see tangible projects emerging from the mission in coming months,’ he said.

Queensland institutions participating in the Brazil mission were Queensland University of Technology, The University of Queensland, University of Southern Queensland, Central Queensland University and Griffith University.

The mission ran from 12 to 16 March, building on a visit to Queensland late last year by a delegation representing 14 Brazilian universities.

Increasing numbers of Brazilian students are enrolling in Queensland educational institutions, creating an even greater potential for research partnerships with the South American nation.

International education and training is identified as an export priority in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

The Queensland Government has also committed $23.5 million to support Queensland’s international education and training industry through the International Education and Training Strategy to Advance Queensland 2016–2026.

If you’re a Queensland business interested in entering the Latin American market, connect with TIQ.

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457 visas replaced under skilled visa changes

Australia’s 457 visa has been replaced with a new Temporary Skill Shortage visa, and new conditions and occupation lists have been introduced for certain classes of skilled migrants, under changes that came into force on 18 March.

Australia’s 457 visa has been replaced with a new Temporary Skill Shortage visa, and new conditions and occupation lists have been introduced for certain classes of skilled migrants, under changes that came into force on 18 March.

The old 457 visa has now been officially replaced by the new Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482), to be known as the ‘TSS visa’.

The new TSS visa has two streams to cater for different skills shortages – short-term (maximum 2 years with a possible 1-year renewal) and medium-to-long-term (maximum 4 years).

Other key changes under the TSS visa include:

  • expanded requirements for employers to advertise in Australia before hiring overseas workers
  • stronger English-language requirements
  • a new requirement for sponsored applicants to generally have at least 2 years’ work experience (with some adjustments for specific occupations)
  • a longer eligibility period before skilled migrants can apply for permanent residency – 3 years compared to 2 years under the 457 visa.

In addition, a revised list of permitted occupations has been developed for the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187), for skilled migrants being sponsored by employers to work and live in regional Australia. See this article for the full occupations list.

Announcing the most recent changes, the Australian Government said that they would consult on skills shortages in regional areas, with further changes likely in the next list update in July 2018.

For more information about State Nominated subclass 190 and 489 visas, or for general information about moving to Queensland as a skilled migrant, contact TIQ’s team at Business and Skilled Migration Queensland.

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Small business digital grants closing 11 April

Queensland small businesses have until Wednesday 11 April to apply for a digital business grant to buy hardware, software or get expert help to improve their online performance.

Queensland small businesses have until Wednesday 11 April to apply for a digital business grant to buy hardware or software or get expert help to improve their online performance.

The Small Business Digital Grants Program provides grants from $1,000 to $10,000 to help small businesses use digital initiatives to work smarter, engage with the global economy and make the most of online business opportunities.

Businesses must match their grant funding with an equal amount from their own resources, and must show how the digital technology or service will enhance their digital capabilities, help them be more competitive, and enable them to employ more staff.

To be eligible, a business must have fewer than 20 employees, have Queensland headquarters, and have had a turnover of $2 million or less in the last financial year.

Successful applicants must be able to pay for the approved products and services in full before being reimbursed for the grant amount.

More details of the grants are available in the application guidelines.

The Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022 recognises the increasing importance of digital disruption and ecommerce to global trade and investment.

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Northern Oil progresses biofuels program

Gladstone’s Northern Oil continues to build on its achievements, with the successful production of diesel from waste and plans to trial converting plastic, tyres and weeds into usable fuels.

Gladstone’s Northern Oil continues to build on its achievements, with the successful production of diesel from waste and plans to experiment with converting plastics, tyres and weeds into usable fuels.

Established in 2014, Northern Oil recycles waste lubricating oil, creating new fuel from a product that has traditionally been burnt.

The Gladstone site is also home to the $18 million Northern Oil Advanced Biofuels Pilot Plant, which is exploring the use of alternative materials for the production of bio crude oil, which can then be refined into saleable kerosene and diesel products.

In March, the company celebrated its successes by welcoming Minister for Science Leeanne Enoch to the plant, which is now fuelling its own bobcats with diesel converted from waste at the site.

Speaking to the Gladstone Observer newspaper, Northern Oils Managing Director Tim Rose said the company was very proud of its recycled diesel, which represented an important step forward for Australia’s biofuels industry.

‘We import 96% of our fuel in this country … hence the opportunity,’ he said.

‘In terms of fuel security this is something we should’ve been doing a long time ago in my opinion.’

The diesel is produced in a four-stage process that converts solid waste into a crude oil and then refines it three times.

Ms Enoch said Northern Oil would now explore the possibility of recycling another seven waste products for conversion into biofuels.

‘This facility … has generated renewable crude from used-oil residue, softwood plantation waste, blue pine, and macadamia nut shells,’ she said.

‘Now they are going to test another seven waste products, and woody material from an invasive plant known as the prickly acacia

‘Other products the plant is planning to convert into renewable diesel and energy include plastics, wood waste and tyres.

‘This project is amazing, and is leading the way to a sustainable fuel future for Queensland.’

The Northern Oil refinery was the first project attracted to Queensland by the government’s $65 million Advance Queensland Industry Attraction Fund.

Owned by Wagga Wagga-based Southern Oil, Northern Oil is also working with Queensland and Japanese partners to explore the potential to create ‘clean hydrogen’ fuel using renewable energy sources.

Renewables are identified as one of Queensland’s emerging export markets in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

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