March 2018

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New Boeing autonomous systems program

Queensland will be home to Boeing’s largest autonomous systems development program outside of the USA, in a deal just announced by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Queensland will be home to Boeing’s largest autonomous systems development program outside of the USA, in a deal just announced by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Ms Palaczszuk said that the program, to develop autonomous air and sea vehicles, would create more than 100 Queensland jobs with a future focus.

‘The 131 jobs that will come with this autonomous vehicles program will grow Boeing’s Queensland workforce – and these are truly jobs of the future,’ she said.

‘Boeing has a proven track record of working with innovative Queensland businesses, a relationship that supports the growth of highly skilled jobs under this new program.’

The new Boeing program is the ninth project attracted to Queensland through the state government’s $65 million Advance Queensland Industry Attraction Fund.

A previous Advance Queensland project with Boeing developed a system for detecting aircraft in the vicinity of unmanned aerial systems, which was trialled in January this year.

Shane Arnott, Director of Boeing’s Phantom Works International business in Australia, said Queensland was a great location for Boeing to develop globally significant technology.

‘The state’s innovation culture and a talented network of local suppliers [are] creating an outstanding environment to innovate and experiment with autonomous vehicles and the systems and sensors that drive them,’ he said.

‘Boeing will work with small-to-medium sized Queensland businesses to develop transformative “brain on board” technology.’

Mr Arnott said the new program would work closely with the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Trusted Autonomous Systems, also based in Brisbane.

He said Boeing would aim to take the CRC’s research outcomes and develop them into exportable commercial products for the global autonomous market, for both commercial and defence applications.

The defence and aerospace sector is one of the emerging export strengths identified in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

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Sniffing out truffles in Queensland’s Granite Belt

A typically French delicacy is now being harvested and enjoyed in Queensland’s Granite Belt, with local growers, chefs and truffle-hunting canines all playing their part in the expanding industry.

A typically French delicacy is now being harvested and enjoyed in Queensland’s Granite Belt, with local growers, chefs and truffle-hunting canines all playing their part in the expanding industry.

Matt Hibberd, founder of Stanthorpe’s new Truffle Discovery Centre, says truffles have been cultivated in Australia since the late 1990s, but truffle growers are generally reluctant to seek publicity.

‘Queensland truffle growers are generally very secretive because of their concerns about biosecurity and theft,’ Matt said.

‘With no other truffle ventures open to the public, we opened our Truffle Discovery Centre at Stanthorpe last winter to cater to Queensland truffle fans.

‘We have two display truffle plantations, with a mix of hazelnut and English oak trees purchased from one of the two places in Australia that has a patent to coat the roots of the seedlings with truffle spores.

‘We offer guided tours of our two plantations, and we also run displays of our truffle detection dogs at work.’

While Matt’s own truffle plantations are still a few years away from producing harvestable truffles, Matt and his dog are busy tracking down the precious fungus for other farmers.

‘Some farmers bring their dog to us for training, and we have our own dog, Conan, who heads out with me as a hired truffle hunter during winter,’ he said.

‘I take Conan through a row of trees in a commercial truffiere, he smells the ground and, if he smells truffles, he shows me that we need to dig.’

Matt said local chefs and home cooks are keen purchasers of truffles, and an export market is also opening up.

‘Currently there is strong direct demand from Asia for truffles grown on the Southern and Darling Downs, and that’s supported by a weekly flight from Wellcamp Airport at Toowoomba to Hong Kong,’ he said.

‘Growers are starting to talk about the need for a co-op to be established to coordinate the cost-effective export of large orders to Asia and Europe where price and demand are strongest.

‘I think we have exciting times ahead for Queensland’s truffle industry.’

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

You can read more about Matt and Conan’s adventures in Matt’s full interview on TIQ’s Medium homepage.

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Evolve Skateboards takes on Europe

Queensland Exporter of the Year and powerhouse Gold Coast business Evolve Skateboards has started its European campaign, with a high-profile presence at the recent ISPO Munich trade fair.

Evolve Skateboards at ISPO MunichQueensland Exporter of the Year and powerhouse Gold Coast business Evolve Skateboards has started its European campaign, with a high-profile presence at the recent ISPO Munich trade fair.

ISPO Munich is the leading international trade fair for sporting goods and fashion, attracting more than 2,800 exhibitors from around the world.

Evolve set up camp with both a main exhibition booth and a booth at ISPO’s Longboard Embassy, showcasing its innovative electric skateboards and inviting visitors to test-ride them during the show.

Prospective buyers, distributors and retailers spent time chatting to Evolve founder and Director Jeff Anning, who was joined by the company’s International Business Manager and a local German partner.

TIQ Europe worked closely with Evolve to organise the trip to ISPO, advising the company in the planning stages and then arranging introductions to distributors, government agencies and key contacts to grow Evolve’s retail networks in Europe.

TIQ will keep working with Evolve as the company rolls its decks into more European markets, including the UK, Spain and Germany.

Established on the Gold Coast in 2011 by surfer Anning and wife Fleur, Evolve is now exporting its electric skateboards to more than 30 countries and generating more than $14 million in revenue per year.

Evolve Skateboards at ISPO MunichThe company won Exporter of the Year at the 2017 Premier of Queensland’s Export Awards.

Following the successful showing at ISPO in January, Evolve is planning to head to Manchester’s Outdoor Trade Show in July.

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

February 2018

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Queensland on show at Gulfood

Eight Queensland companies took their produce to the massive Gulfoods trade exhibition in Dubai in late February.

TIQ at Gulfood 2018Eight Queensland companies took their produce to the massive Gulfood trade exhibition in Dubai in late February.

Gulfood is the world’s largest annual food event, attracting 5,000 exhibitors and 100,000 visitors in 2017.

It is also the Middle East’s largest food and agriculture show, attracting buyers from throughout the region.

Exhibiting at Gulfood were 8 Queensland producers from a range of sectors, showcasing their products under the ‘Australia Unlimited’ banner.

Morlife natural foods, Bee Farm Honey and Qualipac Produce participated in the World Food category; Jack’s Creek, Swift Trade, Teys Australia and Kilcoy Pastoral Company in the Meat and Poultry category; and Frosty Boy Australia in the Dairy category.

Supporting the Queensland contingent was the Senior Business Development Manager for TIQ Middle East, David Hackett.

David met with all the Queensland exhibitors and also arranged meetings with potential local distributors and partners.

Queensland companies that attended will now spend time following up on leads and enquiries from the show.

Gulfood 2018 ran from 18 to 22 February at the World Trade Centre Dubai.

The Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022 includes funding to support missions and showcase events in international markets.

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Edu-tourism a growing industry for NQ

Queensland education and tourism representatives got together in Townsville last week to discuss strategies for increasing the number of overseas students and ‘edu-tourists’ visiting North Queensland.

International Education and Training Advisory GroupQueensland education and tourism representatives got together in Townsville last week to discuss strategies for increasing the number of overseas students and ‘edu-tourists’ visiting North Queensland.

They were there for a meeting of the International Education and Training Advisory Group (IETAG), Queensland’s peak advisory body on international education.

This was the first IETAG meeting ever held outside of Brisbane, and the first chaired by Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones in her new role as Ministerial Champion for International Education.

Ms Jones said Townsville was leading the way in exploring the connections between international education and tourism, with important economic benefits for the region.

‘By taking IETAG to Townsville we’re sending a strong message to education providers in north Queensland that we’re serious about helping them to grow their businesses,’ she said.

‘Students want to come to places like Townsville because they know they can get the best of both worlds – a world-class education in one of the greatest tourism destinations on the planet.

‘There is plenty of crossover in the international education and tourism sectors and operators in Townsville are doing a great job of capitalising on this.

‘The Townsville edu-tourism consortium is acting on these opportunities already and showing how the tourism and international education sectors can work together.’

Ms Jones said international education was a major contributor to the Queensland economy, with regional Queensland playing an increasingly important role.

‘International education contributes more than $4.13 billion to Queensland’s economy each year and regional locations like Townsville are an important part of this,’ she said.

‘More than 30% of the 111,501 international students in our great state are studying in regional areas.’

The IETAG met on Thursday 22 February at the Townsville City Council Chambers.

TIQ’s International Education and Training Unit is responsible for implementing the International Education and Training Strategy to Advance Queensland 2016–2026.

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Clean hydrogen – fuel of the future?

Researchers and industry leaders in Queensland and Japan are collaborating on what could be the world’s next renewable fuel – CO2-free hydrogen.

Researchers and industry leaders in Queensland and Japan are collaborating on what could be the world’s next renewable fuel – CO2-free hydrogen.

Hydrogen is a clean fuel that can be used to power cars and a range of industrial processes, burning with oxygen to produce only a water vapour residue.

But production of hydrogen is currently expensive and problematic, requiring the burning of fossil fuels that create carbon dioxide emissions.

Japan is at the forefront of research into CO2-free hydrogen, with Professor Masakazu Sugiyama from the University of Tokyo a leader in the field.

In February, TIQ facilitated a visit by Professor Sugiyama to the Northern Oil Advanced Biofuel Pilot Plant at Yarwun near Gladstone.

Visiting the facility with Professor Sugiyama were representatives from Japan’s Sumitomo Group, which is also exploring the potential of CO2-free hydrogen.

Speaking to the Gladstone Observer, Professor Sugiyama said Northern Oil’s plant had the potential to supply Japan with ‘bio hydrogen’ that had been produced using clean energy sources such as solar energy or biofuels.

‘My aim is to prove that hydrogen produced out of this renewable source here in Gladstone can be cost-effective in the future,’ he said.

‘The primary purpose of our visit this time is … so we, the Japanese community, can import hydrogen or solar-driven green fuel from this region.’

As part of the same visit, Professor Sugiyama signed an international cooperation agreement with QUT on behalf of the University of Tokyo’s Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology (RCAST).

The agreement formalises the relationship between QUT and RCAST, including an undertaking to collaborate on joint ventures and academic and scientific activities.

Announcing the agreement, QUT Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Sheil AO said QUT was excited to work with RCAST on real-world research with a global impact.

‘The University of Tokyo is a leader in science and engineering research,’ she said.

‘QUT’s Institute for Future Environments has a purpose and outlook similar to RCAST, with common alignments in many similar fields of endeavour, and particularly in renewable energy and fuels of the future, such as hydrogen.’

Professor Mackinnon thanked TIQ and Sumitomo Electric Industries for their support in helping the two universities formalise the partnership.

Professor Sugiyama was originally introduced to his QUT counterparts by TIQ’s Tokyo office, which is a member of Japan’s CO2-Free Hydrogen Consortium.

TIQ’s Trade and Investment Commissioner for Japan, Tak Adachi, spoke at the consortium’s meeting at the University of Tokyo on 23 February.

Mr Adachi discussed the potential for Queensland and Japan to make clean hydrogen a reality, with QUT and CSIRO joining the meeting by video link.

Renewables and biofuels are identified as an emerging export market in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

Image credit: QUT

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Cook Medical expands on back of exports

Medical device manufacturer Cook Medical Australia is adding 94 jobs in a second shift at its Eight Mile Plains facility to meet increasing export demand for its life-changing stent devices.

Medical device manufacturer Cook Medical Australia is adding 94 jobs in a second shift at its Eight Mile Plains facility to meet increasing export demand for its life-changing stent devices.

Stents are tiny, splint-like devices placed inside ducts or blood vessels to open passageways and restore blood flow.

Cook Medical is one of few companies in the world that manufactures stents to treat abdominal aortic aneurysms, and is also an Asia-Pacific leader in stent research and development.

General Manager Dr Samih Nabulsi said the company’s highly skilled manufacturing employees hand-sewed and hand-knotted each stent with polyester medical-grade thread, producing different and specific stent grafts for each patient.

‘Our employees take great pride in their work, as they know that these devices may be life-changing for patients,’ he said.

‘Our recruitment drive aims to bring on seven people a month this year to fill an eight-hour shift running from 2pm until midnight, Monday to Thursday.

‘The extra shift will mean 231 skilled technicians will be on site across 19 hours to deliver products to patients faster.’

Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the staff growth would boost Cook Medical’s production by more than 50%.

Mr Dick said the Queensland Government was backing the biomedical sector through the $513 million Advance Queensland program.

‘By 2026 Queensland aims to be a recognised leader – nationally and internationally – for its advanced manufacturing in biomedical technologies, products, systems and services,’ he said.

‘It is growing companies like Cook Medical which are fuelling this vision.’

Queensland’s biomedical sector added $1.4 billion to the state’s economy in 2015–16.

It employed 9,440 people and is forecast to grow by up to 38% over the next 10 years.

The biomedical and life sciences sector is identified as an emerging export strength in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

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Cohort Go rolls out to 22 countries

A Brisbane-based company offering a digital payment platform for international students has signed a deal that will see its software rolled out to 22 countries worldwide.

A Brisbane-based company offering a digital payment platform for international students has signed a deal that will see its software rolled out to 22 countries.

Edtech company Cohort Go will partner with global education agent IDP Education, which places international students into more than 600 institutions across Australia, New Zealand, the USA, UK and Canada.

In the first phase of the partnership, 84 IDP branches will offer Cohort Go’s international platform to students in 14 countries, including China, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and South Korea.

Cohort Go founder and CEO Mark Fletcher said the deal would give more students access to Cohort Go’s secure payment platform, and set a benchmark for other providers.

‘Not only will this deliver our Cohort Go platform to an increased volume of students, but it’s also a great opportunity to set up best practice within the industry by providing a secure payment platform to help ease the stress of studying overseas,’ he said.

‘Students and families can securely pay tuition fees, living expenses and other education-related fees in their local currency, with competitive exchange rates and no fees using our platform.’

Mr Fletcher said Cohort Go had already helped 50,000 students from 180 countries, and had grown its user base by 24% in the past six months.

The company has also recently expanded its offering, adding new services such as student health insurance to its platform.

Cohort Go began at River City Labs, a Brisbane incubator for entrepreneurs.

It has won a number of government awards for innovation, and been named on various lists of ‘start-ups to watch’.

TIQ has worked with Cohort Go in Queensland and overseas, including providing introductions, market analysis, meeting venues and conference support.

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

If you think you have a product that could succeed in an export market, connect with TIQ.

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Inland Rail: Queensland contracts awarded

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has awarded more than $30 million worth of contracts in Queensland for engineering and environmental investigations related to the Inland Rail project.

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has awarded more than $30 million worth of contracts for Queensland engineering and environmental investigations related to the Inland Rail project.

Inland Rail is a $10.9 billion rail construction project to complete Australia’s national freight network by connecting Brisbane to Melbourne via regional Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

The completed project will be a high-capacity railway line that caters for growing freight volumes and provides a better supply chain for manufacturers and other exporters, especially those in regional areas.

Announcing the new contracts, Inland Rail Programme Delivery Director Simon Thomas said this was the first step in a complex design process.

‘We are at the beginning of a lengthy design process for Inland Rail in Queensland,’ he said.

‘These contracts allow us to progress an important piece of the puzzle, with environmental studies from Toowoomba down through the Lockyer Valley, Beaudesert and into Brisbane at Acacia Ridge and Bromelton.

‘They will help us understand more about the local geography, hydrology, flora and fauna, as well as air quality, noise and social factors, laying the groundwork for more detailed design work.

‘Throughout this process we will continue to work very closely with communities, councils and landowners to gather their feedback and feed that into the design.’

The Kagaru to Acacia Ridge and Bromelton contract, worth around $3.5 million, was awarded to Hatch Pty Ltd.

The contract for the three projects from Gowrie through to Kagaru, worth around $28 million, was awarded to the Future Freight Join Venture established by Aecom and Aurecon.

The Inland Rail project will build 500km of track in stages over 10 years, providing the ‘missing links’ to create a continuous 1700km line.

The line will connect to the Port of Brisbane from its first day of operation, with ongoing input during the project from the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads.

Freight routes play a critical role in export success, and supporting regional growth is one of the priorities of the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

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Peru–Australia FTA signed off

The new Peru-Australia Free Trade Agreement (PAFTA) announced in November last year has now been signed, with Queensland agricultural producers likely to be some of the biggest winners when the new agreement comes into force.

The new Peru–Australia Free Trade Agreement (PAFTA) has now been signed, with Queensland agricultural producers likely to be some of the biggest winners when the new agreement comes into force.

PAFTA is expected to deliver major benefits to Queensland sugar, dairy and beef producers, who will enjoy reduced tariffs and improved access to the lucrative $4.6 billion Peruvian agriculture market.

Tariffs will also be reduced on a range of other Australian products, including sheep meat, wine, kangaroo meat, almonds, mining equipment, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices.

PAFTA was announced in November last year, and signed on 12 February by Australian Trade Minister Steve Ciobo and his Peruvian counterpart Eduardo Ferreyros.

Announcing the signing, Mr Ciobo said Australia had negotiated PAFTA more quickly than any other free trade agreement, with discussions starting just nine months ago, in May 2017.

Both Peru and Australia must now complete their own domestic treaty-making processes before PAFTA can be implemented in coming months.

For Australia, this will include an inquiry into the PAFTA by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT).

Peru is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with an average annual growth rate of 5.9% over the last decade.

Queensland businesses exported $11.7 million worth of merchandise to Peru in 2016–17.

Supporting exports is a key goal of the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

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