November 2018

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Robot research could make structures safer worldwide

A Queensland researcher working on a robotic system to detect faults in major structures has received an innovation grant to further develop this technology, with potential applications worldwide.

Dr Adnan Trakic, University of Queensland

Researcher Dr Adnan Trakic.

A Queensland researcher working on a robotic system to detect faults in major structures has received an innovation grant to further develop this technology, with potential applications worldwide.

Dr Adnan Trakic from the University of Queensland has received a $300,000 Industry Research Fellowship from the Queensland Government for his collaborative project with Whitsunday company Artemis Robotics.

Dr Trakic said he would use the funding to develop a robotically assisted inspection technology that could penetrate structures with microwave signals to deliver 50-times more accurate and 300-times faster detection of deep-interior defects in major structures on land and in water.

He said that the technology could be applied to tunnels, buildings, roads, bridges, mining infrastructure and sea facilities.

‘This technology, which combines microwave systems with cutting-edge robotic technology and artificial intelligence algorithms, has great potential, because it will be the first gold standard structural inspection system for both terrestrial and underwater applications,’ Dr Trakic said.

‘Not only will an automated and robotic scanning system deliver better results, it will also be more cost-effective and circumvent the tedious and inaccurate manual inspection.

‘The applications are almost endless, and this technology will be able to be used to detect rust and cracks in concrete in roads, buildings, tunnels, bridges, mining facilities and marine areas, including pylons, ports and vessels.’

Artemis Robotics Director and CEO Darren Foster said Dr Trakic’s research had the potential to revolutionise inspection of major structures.

‘After undertaking the feasibility study with Dr Trakic, it became apparent that this technology has the capability of being a step-change in the testing of non-ferrous materials,’ Mr Foster said.

‘We are looking to deploy the new sensor technology across a range of industries and covering several different materials over the next few years.

‘Dr Trakic has brought a wealth of information and background knowledge to help us build new sensors based on millimetre wave technology, and without this funding we may not have been able to undertake the project at this time.’

The new technology has major export potential.

Artemis Robotics was established by Mr Foster’s company Whitsunday Moorings & Marine Constructions, after Mr Foster and business partner Ken Spruce noticed deficiencies in methods for inspecting marine structures and began developing automated technologies to address this.

TIQ has worked with Artemis to explore opportunities to attract international investment.

Dr Trakic is one of 30 researchers who received a total of $7.2 million in funding in the most recent round of the Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowships.

Knowledge industries and advanced manufacturing are identified as emerging export strengths in the Advancing Trade and Investment – Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

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In-depth intel on METS opportunities in India

Queensland METS operators can find up-to-date insights on millions of dollars’ worth of Indian opportunities in a new report published by TIQ.


Queensland METS operators can find up-to-date insights on millions of dollars’ worth of Indian opportunities in a new report published by TIQ.

The Mining India’s METS Opportunities report is an in-depth analysis prepared especially for Queensland mining, equipment, technology and services (METS) companies looking to engage with the Indian resource sector.

It’s the first in a series of international market reports designed to help Queensland businesses explore new markets and develop client relationships around the world.

TIQ CEO Virginia Greville said the report found that the Indian market has great potential for Queensland METS operators.

‘India’s mining sector has been described as a success story in waiting, and the Indian Government’s ambitious production targets for the industry mean countless opportunities exist for innovative and cost-effective mining equipment, technologies and services,’ Ms Greville said.

‘Queensland companies have an international reputation for innovation and technical excellence, delivering efficiencies, products and services that contribute to the safe and profitable exploration, extraction, handling, processing and refining of natural resources.

‘This report is designed to provide insights into international market opportunities for Queensland companies and to complement Queensland’s other resources aimed at helping companies export their goods and services to India.’

The new report also supports the Queensland–India trade and investment strategy, which TIQ is currently developing to address emerging opportunities and challenges.

India is the world’s fastest-growing large economy.

In 2017, Queensland sold more than $9.4 billion of goods to India, a 34% increase on the previous 12 months and more than 60% of Australia’s total exports to India.

The international market report and the Queensland–India strategy are both initiatives of the Advancing Trade and Investment – Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

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International students share stories with Queensland MPs

More than 100 student leaders from 40 countries shared stories with Queensland parliamentarians at Study Queensland’s ‘International Students Meet Parliament’ event in Brisbane recently.

Shannon Willoughby with QUT students

Study Queensland Executive Director Shannon Willoughby meets students at the International Student Leadership Forum in Brisbane.

More than 100 student leaders from 40 countries shared their stories with Queensland parliamentarians at Study Queensland’s ‘International Students Meet Parliament’ event in Brisbane recently.

The students, drawn from across Queensland, met MPs, educators, industry experts and their peers in the heritage surroundings of Parliament House, sharing their perspectives on studying in Queensland and networking with potential mentors and employers.

Study Queensland Executive Director Shannon Willoughby said the event at Parliament House was a unique opportunity for student leaders and decision-makers to share stories and to build connections between the students and the Queensland community.

‘International Students Meet Parliament is held each year as part of Study Queensland’s International Student Leadership Forum,’ said Ms Willoughby.

‘The forum is a wonderful opportunity for the student leaders to come together and learn new skills, and also to share their grass-roots insights on what it’s like to be an international student in Queensland.

‘Their perspectives help decision-makers stay informed about the educational experience across Queensland, and the students become education ambassadors who take their personal passion for Queensland back to countries all over the world.’

Among the student leaders attending the forum were the 11 members of Study Queensland’s 2018 Queensland International Student Advisory Panel (QISAP).

QISAP member Sebastian Romhany, a Psychology and Economy student at James Cook University in Townsville, said the International Student Leaders’ Forum was a life-changing opportunity.

‘The International Student Leadership Forum was a true platform for students to take their first steps towards leadership,’ he said.

‘You could see on many of their faces that they were actually making the choice to become leaders.

‘Walking into the Parliament House, meeting members of parliament and industry leaders, and having them show interest in you was the best way to empower and inspire students towards developing Queensland’s international education.’

The International Student Leaders’ Forum is an initiative of the International Education and Training Strategy to Advance Queensland 2016–2026.

This year’s forum was held in Brisbane on 15 and 16 October, and is one of the opportunities that Study Queensland continues to build for students to connect with community leaders.

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

Ms Willoughby took up the role of Study Queensland Executive Director in early October, taking over from previous Executive Director Rebecca Hall, who is now working on international education with Austrade.

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Surf’s up in Chile for Gold Coast lifeguards

Gold Coast lifeguards have shared world-class lifesaving skills with their Chilean counterparts in a groundbreaking project that’s taking the quintessential Queenslanders into a whole new Latin American market.

Gold Coast lifeguards have shared their world-class lifesaving skills with Chilean counterparts in a groundbreaking project that’s taking the quintessential Queenslanders into a whole new Latin American market.

For three weeks in July and August, lifeguards and trainers from Gold Coast Surf City Inc visited Arica in northern Chile to train 28 beach lifeguards as the result of a contract with CORFO, a government organisation promoting economic development and trade in Chile.

The project was also supported locally by the Arica Active Foundation, which works on coastal development strategies.

Gold Coast Surf City Inc is a not-for-profit association set up in 2010 by City of Gold Coast to encourage and liaise with the local surf industry, which injects around $3.3 billion into the Coast economy each year.

Surf City President (and long-time Gold Coast identity) John Nielsen said that the project had surfed into new and exciting territory.

‘The synergy between Gold Coast Surf City and Arica is unique and is the first time anybody has attempted to benchmark against the elite standards of fitness, rapid response recovery, rescue techniques and level of treatment skills essential to be a professional ocean lifeguard in Australia,’ he said.

‘We were made very welcome by the locals, who realised that this was a rare and generous career-building opportunity which they could never afford personally, but made possible by the experts with vision at CORFO, who are pursuing “Sustainable Tourism” via the surfing and cultural attractions their waves and beaches freely provide in abundance.

‘This is a timely and priceless model for all Latin America’s coastal “surf cities” to embrace to keep their tourists and locals safe.’

Mr Nielsen said that the project was a remarkable success, with Arica’s lifeguards receiving international certification and the Queensland lifeguards learning a lot about teaching surf safety in a different culture and language.

‘Four translators were engaged throughout, although we find that in such physical aquatic training, surfers simply speak the same language and have common bonds,’ he said.

Aloha Amigos is our motto; we shared a lot of stoke – Aussies and Chileans mix well!’

Mr Nielsen said he was now working with TIQ to market the course to other Latin American locations.

Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner for Latin America Alex Pessagno said parts of the region had much in common with Queensland’s sun-and-surf lifestyle.

‘Surfing and the beach lifestyle are very popular in coastal areas of Latin America like central Chile and Peru,’ Mr Pessagno said.

‘It’s definitely a niche market where Queensland businesses can export the surf-side services and products that they do so well.

‘We’re really enjoying working with Gold Coast Surf City Inc to help them build their profile and business in the LatAm market.’

Promoting Queensland globally is one of the priorities of the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

If you have a product you think could succeed in the Latin American market, connect with TIQ today.

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Business Growth grants available 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 are being invited to 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 are now open and will continue to be accepted until all money in the fund has been allocated.

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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SMEs and grads head overseas with Future Leaders

Queenslanders’ skills in international business are being developed through a new program that sends small businesspeople and university graduates on unique overseas placements.

Virginia Greville with graduates

TIQ CEO Virginia Greville with graduates Kristine de Bever, Kristen Czyszek and Chelsea Jacka.

Queenslanders’ skills in international business are being developed through a new program that sends small businesspeople and university graduates on unique overseas placements.

The Future Leaders program will see participants working on an international business project in one of TIQ’s overseas offices for periods ranging from 2 weeks to 1 month.

It aims to help Queensland’s small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) develop the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in global markets, and to foster the state’s next generation of international business leaders.

The inaugural round of the program has just commenced, with 5 Queensland SMEs receiving a placement in one of TIQ’s offices, along with $7,000 to support their costs while overseas.

The following businesses will be sending staff to a TIQ office in coming months:

  • Clean Oil Services Pty Ltd (Townsville) – TIQ Santiago
  • Scorpion Jacks International (Townsville) – TIQ Santiago
  • Nichigo Connections Pty Ltd (Gold Coast) – TIQ Tokyo
  • Inkerman Cane Growers Organisation Limited (Burdekin) – TIQ Tokyo
  • Tritium (Brisbane) – TIQ Shanghai.

All participating SMEs are either export-ready or already exporting.

The program will also send 4 graduates from Queensland universities to spend a month in a TIQ office between October and December this year to undertake research and gain experience working overseas.

TIQ Hong Kong and Santiago will host 1 graduate each, while TIQ Shanghai will host 2 graduates. Participating graduates are:

  • Rachael Ross – TIQ Hong Kong
  • Kristine de Bever – TIQ Santiago
  • Chelsea Jacka – TIQ Shanghai
  • Kristen Czyszek – TIQ Shanghai.

All participating graduates have an interest in international business and language capabilities for the relevant local market.

Applications for the 2019 Future Leaders program are expected to open early next year.

For more information, visit www.tiq.qld.gov.au/futureleaders or email futureleaders@tiq.qld.gov.au.

The Future Leaders program is among the 22 initiatives included in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

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Grants available for export promotion costs

Queensland SMEs have until 1 November to apply for an Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) to help cover the cost of promoting their products in export markets.

Queensland SMEs have until the end of this month to apply for an Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) to help cover the cost of promoting their products in export markets.

Run by Austrade, the EMDG program reimburses small and medium-sized Australian businesses with up to 50% of eligible export promotion expenses.

It is open to aspiring and current exporters from a wide range of industries.

Austrade is now accepting applications for reimbursement of funds spent in the 2017–2018 financial year.

Applicants must:

  • have an income of less than $50 million for the year
  • have spent at least $15,000 on export promotion in the year.

Successful applicants can receive up to 50% reimbursement of eligible expenses, less the first $5,000, with a maximum grant of $150,000 per application.

Eligible export promotion expenses include the costs of:

  • overseas representation
  • marketing visits
  • trade fairs, seminars and in-store promotions
  • promotional literature and advertising
  • registration and insurance of eligible intellectual property.

Some expenses and export markets are excluded from the program, and potential applicants should check their eligibility before applying.

In 2016–17, more than 3,000 Australian businesses received EMDG funds totalling $131.4 million.

Applications for this year’s funding close 30 November 2018.

For further advice on promoting your product in export markets, connect with TIQ.

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Australia’s International Business Survey results out now

Australia’s exporters foresee positive growth in overseas markets but are still slow to use online channels to drive export sales, according to results from one of Australia’s largest and most in-depth business surveys.

Australia’s exporters foresee positive growth in overseas markets but are still slow to use online channels to drive export sales, according to results from one of Australia’s largest and most in-depth business surveys.

Australia’s International Business Survey (AIBS) 2018 analysed results from 713 Australian companies drawn from 19 industry sectors operating across 92 international markets.

Three-quarters of survey respondents said that they planned to increase staff numbers off the back of their positive future outlook, by an average of 41% over the next 2 years.

On the other hand, more than half of those who responded said that they were not using online channels to sell their goods/services overseas, although more than one-third said that they planned to increase their use of these channels.

A total of 106 Queensland business took part in the survey, which is a joint project of the Export Council of Australia, Austrade, and the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (Efic).

Other key points to emerge from the survey were:

  • top targets for future expansion are the traditional markets of the USA, China, and the UK, with Indonesia and Vietnam ranked fourth and fifth
  • almost one-third of respondents are doing business in Latin America, which was a focus emerging market for this year’s survey
  • funding from retained earnings is the most important means of financing international expansion.

The 2018 AIBS report was released on 4 October and is available for free download.

Supporting Queensland exporters to enter new markets and encouraging them to increase their online presence are among 22 initiatives included in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

October 2018

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New incentive for film and TV post-production

A new Queensland Government funding program will give international filmmakers another incentive to use the state’s post-production facilities, with a 10% rebate available for major projects.

A new state government funding program will give international filmmakers another incentive to use Queensland’s post-production facilities, with a 10% rebate now available for major projects.

The new Post, Digital and Visual Effects Attraction Grant (PDV-AG) is open to eligible international and national film and television projects that spend a minimum of $500,000 on PDV.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the new rebate would put Queensland in a competitive position to attract large international and national post-production projects.

‘We have a track record of attracting productions to film in Queensland and we want to build on that momentum and provide a one-stop shop for productions to make their entire projects here, right through to post-production,’ the Premier said.

‘Similar incentives overseas and interstate have seen the establishment of post-production hubs in those areas, contributing to a lucrative global industry worth US$15 billion annually.

‘We will continue to work closely and collaboratively with the Queensland post-production sector to leverage this opportunity worldwide.’

Queensland is home to world-class PDV companies and facilities, with a wealth of talented specialists and a track record of delivering high-end international film and television productions.

For example, Brisbane’s Cutting Edge studio works on a wide range of international projects, and won the Creative Industries Award at the recent Premier of Queensland’s Export Awards 2018.

The Australian Government also offers a PDV offset, which can be combined with the Queensland incentive to create larger benefits for eligible companies.

Companies interested in Queensland’s PDV incentive should read the funding guidelines for the program before submitting an application.

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Queensland organic beef exporter wins Oz Advance Award

A Queenslander who pioneered the export of organic beef is one of three locals honoured in the 2018 Advance Awards, which recognise Australians who exhibit talent, vision and ambition in the international arena.

Dalene Wray, Leanne Kemp and Dr Renae Beaumont

Queensland’s Advance Awards winners Dalene Wray, Leanne Kemp and Dr Renae Beaumont.

A Queenslander who pioneered the export of organic beef is one of three locals honoured in the 2018 Advance Awards, which recognise Australians who exhibit talent, vision and ambition in the international arena.

Birdsville-born Dalene Wray, Managing Director of Queensland’s OBE Organic, was named the 2018 Advance Food & Agriculture Award winner for her work in driving change, innovation and digital adoption in the Australian beef industry.

OBE Organic was formed in the mid-1990s by a group of outback cattle farmers, and is now Australia’s oldest organic beef marketing company, exporting to multiple overseas markets.

Ms Wray joined OBE in 2003 and spent 6 years in Asia advancing the company’s Asian and Middle East expansion, and boosting the overall profile of Australian beef.

Back in Brisbane since July 2015, she now works tirelessly to run a successful farmer-owned business, as well as driving important innovations to improve the sustainability of beef supply-chains across the industry.

She also invests her time as a member of the Telstra Queensland Regional Advisory Committee, and as Deputy Chair of the Council for Australian-Arab Relations, coordinated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

TIQ has worked with OBE Organic to help them expand into priority export markets.

Two other globally successful Queenslanders were also named winners at the Advance Awards ceremony in Sydney on 18 October.

Queensland businesswoman Leanne Kemp, founder and CEO of the groundbreaking blockchain start-up Everledger, won the Technology Innovation Award.

Everledger was listed as one of the World Economic Forum’s most promising technology pioneers of 2018, and Ms Kemp is a member of the Global Blockchain Business Council and the World Trade Board’s Sustainable Trade Action Group.

Ms Kemp has also just been named the new Queensland Chief Entrepreneur, responsible for leading and promoting Queensland’s start-up and entrepreneurial community.

Queensland’s third winner at the Advance Awards was US-based Dr Renae Beaumont, who won the Education Award for the computer game she developed for children with autism spectrum conditions.

Dr Beaumont, a psychology graduate from The University of Queensland, is now Program Developer and Research Associate at the Social Skills Training Institute and Weill Cornell Medicine at the New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Her game, the Secret Agent Society, helps autistic children to develop their social skills, and is currently used by more than 1,500 professionals in 9 countries.

You can read the full list of 2018 winners on the Advance Awards website.