May 2020

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Online hub supports students during COVID-19

The Queensland Student Hub aims to improve the wellbeing of international students by connecting them to local welfare services including mental health counselling, English language support, visa information and accommodation services.

Study Queensland (SQ) has partnered with a Queensland edtech start-up to deliver a new online student hub as part of the state’s COVID-19 recovery package.

The Queensland Student Hub aims to improve the wellbeing of international students by connecting them to local welfare services including mental health counselling, English language support, visa information and accommodation services.

The hub is accessible via an app developed by Queensland edtech innovator Vygo.

SQ Executive Director Shannon Willoughby said the COVID-19 pandemic had highlighted the unique support needs of international students.

‘Queensland is a second home for over 100,000 international students who study here each year, and we need to make sure they are supported during this unprecedented crisis,’ Ms Willoughby said.

‘The new online student hub will provide practical support for students who might be experiencing issues like increased loneliness and anxiety while coping with border closures and adjusting to new online learning situations.’

‘SQ is committed to looking after the wellbeing of all students both present and future.’

Vygo Managing Director Ben Hallett said the hub app focused on making in-person services available online.

‘International education is a booming global sector and the unique needs of [international] students have really come to the forefront,’ Mr Hallett said.

‘The hub provides a modern solution for students who want to reach out – from general wellbeing and advisory services to targeted consultations around mental health.’

Mr Hallett said he had seen the experience of newcomers to Australia firsthand.

‘I was involved in refugee mentorship programs at university and fell in love with it – it really changed my life,’ he said.

‘It convinced us to develop a platform that every student can tap into for help, which is especially important when English may not be their first language.’

Vygo was born out of The University of Queensland’s (UQ) startup programs.

It has provided digital welfare solutions to UQ and now works with universities around Australia and the UK.

International education and training is identified as one of Queensland’s most important services exports under the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2020.

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Build starts on Maryborough forging plant

Construction of the $60 million Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions (RNM) shell forging and manufacturing facility in Maryborough has begun, with early works commencing on site.

Construction of the $60 million Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions (RNM) shell forging and manufacturing facility in Maryborough has begun, with early works commencing on site.

Work on the Maryborough Forging & Manufacturing Facility is proceeding despite COVID-19, and is part of a broader program of initiatives to increase Queensland’s defence manufacturing capabilities.

Minister for State Development and Manufacturing Cameron Dick said the new factory would make a major contribution to the local economy and the Maryborough community.

‘This facility is expected to create around 100 long-term advanced manufacturing jobs once the projectile-forging plant commences full production in 2022, up to 90 jobs on site when the 14-month construction phase hits its peak, and additional jobs through the local supply chain,’ Mr Dick said.

RNM’s state-of the-art manufacturing facility will produce 30,000 155-millimetre artillery shell cases annually for both the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and German-based Rheinmetall’s international supply chain of allied nations.

NIOA CEO and RNM Director Robert Nioa said the ADF currently imports artillery shell cases from overseas for use by the Australian Army in training and military combat.

‘Production from the Maryborough facility will be available to replace imported munitions and will supplement Rheinmetall’s existing munitions manufacturing base to meet demand from customers overseas,’ Mr Nioa said.

Australian company BADGE Constructions will build the facility on a 4ha site at the Moonaboola Industrial Estate, with approximately 70% of the project’s trade packages to be awarded to local subcontractors and suppliers.

The facility’s office will be constructed using locally grown timbers sourced from another Maryborough business, Hyne Timber.

The Queensland Government is supporting the RNM facility with $7.5 million from the Jobs and Regional Growth Fund and has contributed an additional $9 million to upgrade the local energy supply and assist with the facility’s complex electricity connections. The Australian Government is supporting the facility through its Regional Growth Fund.

RNM is a joint venture between Rheinmetall Waffe Munitions and NIOA. The joint venture brings together the best of global and local expertise and capability in the munitions sector.

In South East Queensland, Rheinmetall Defence Australia is constructing a $170 million Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) at Redbank to deliver a major tank contract for the ADF.

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 Jobs Queensland.

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New report shows Taiwan agtech opportunities

Opportunities for Queensland businesses in Taiwan’s agtech market examines the pressures driving agricultural change in the Asian nation and how they are contributing to the adoption of new farming technologies.

Taiwan could be a prime target for Queensland agtech exporters – that’s the message in a new report released by TIQ.

Opportunities for Queensland businesses in Taiwan’s agtech market examines the pressures driving agricultural change in the Asian nation and how they are contributing to the adoption of new farming technologies.

Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner for Taiwan Patrick Hafenstein said Queensland exporters were well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities available in Taiwan.

‘Queensland agtech businesses have a chance to enter a premium market that’s located close to Australia and well supported by government initiatives,’ Mr Hafenstein said.

‘Agriculture in Taiwan is facing pressure from a range of challenges – including an ageing farming community, changing weather patterns from climate change, and increasing scarcity of farmland.

‘This report provides Queensland businesses with the latest market insights and strategic information to help them explore export opportunities related to these challenges.’

Mr Hafenstein said Queensland’s reputation for world-class agricultural ingenuity would give the state’s suppliers a competitive advantage in Taiwan’s rapidly evolving agtech market.

‘Queensland’s agricultural sector is known for its ability to develop technologies that improve efficiency, sustainability and productivity,’ he said.

‘On top of that, the Taiwanese Government has designated smart agriculture as a key priority.’

To download Opportunities for Queensland businesses in Taiwan’s agtech market, visit the download page.

The free report is the latest in a series of international market reports produced under the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

If you’re interested in exporting your product to the Taiwanese market, you can also connect with TIQ Taiwan today.

April 2020

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Queensland’s Cryptoloc opens in Tokyo

Brisbane cybersecurity company Cryptoloc is thriving despite COVID-19, opening a new office in Tokyo and taking the first steps in integrating its products with the globally dominant Microsoft suite.

Brisbane cybersecurity company Cryptoloc is thriving despite COVID-19, opening a new office in Tokyo and taking the first steps in integrating its products with the globally dominant Microsoft suite.

Cryptoloc offers patented technology that enables clients to securely store and share documents, guaranteeing privacy, integrity, authenticity and control of all data transactions.

Cryptoloc founder and director Jamie Wilson said the company’s decision to establish a Japanese presence began with introductions from TIQ at a Tokyo conference in 2019.

‘We attended the Innovation Leaders Summit in Tokyo last year,’ Mr Wilson said.

‘It’s Asia’s largest open innovation event, and we saw it as a great opportunity to build our networks and test the waters in terms of Japanese interest in our flagship product, Secure2Client.

‘The team from TIQ Tokyo really helped us to make the most of that trip, introducing us to key Japanese stakeholders and giving us top-quality advice on the Japanese market.

‘The TIQ team in Brisbane also helped us prepare beforehand so we knew what to expect and how to pitch our offering.’

Cryptoloc followed up from the summit with monthly trips to Japan to learn about the needs of the Japanese market and to have further conversations with potential Japanese clients.

The interest displayed by those clients gave Cryptoloc the confidence to open their first Asian office in Tokyo’s Shinagawa district in March, with a local team of 4 staff.

Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner for Japan Tak Adachi said Cryptoloc’s groundwork should stand them in good stead in their entry into the Japanese market.

‘Cryptoloc is a great example of a Queensland exporter doing its homework and building local relationships to maximise the chances of success in a new market,’ Mr Adachi said.

‘They have a world-class product that can meet a global need, and there’s no reason they can’t be in countries all around the world.

‘We’re looking forward to celebrating an official opening of their Tokyo office once COVID-19 passes, when Japan should see a huge opportunity in terms of catch-up in digital transformation and cybersecurity.’

Cryptoloc currently sells to clients in more than 20 countries and TIQ offices in other countries are also working with the company to support their entry into further overseas markets.

Mr Wilson said the company was also working on technical developments to deliver truly integrated solutions to clients around the world.

‘In late March, we integrated Secure2Client with Outlook, which is another great step in terms of making our product globally appealing,’ he said.

‘It’s the first of a number of integration rollouts we have planned with Microsoft and Office 365 that will make our product offerings work even better for our customers.

‘We really see our marketplace as global, and we see Japan as a growth opportunity and strong base for employing skilled professionals.’

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

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TIQ partners with ACBC for China COVID recovery

TIQ has formalised a strategic partnership with the Australia China Business Council (ACBC) Queensland Branch to explore new trade and investment opportunities as Queensland and China plan their economic recoveries from the COVID-19 pandemic.

TIQ has formalised a strategic partnership with the Australia China Business Council (ACBC) Queensland Branch to explore new trade and investment opportunities as Queensland and China plan their economic recoveries from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The partnership recognises ACBC’s work in fostering business ties between Queensland and China, and forms part of the Queensland Government’s $27.25 million COVID-19 recovery package.

TIQ Acting CEO Richard Watson welcomed the milestone partnership.

‘TIQ’s new partnership with ACBC Queensland will undoubtedly produce greater benefits for both Queensland and China,’ Mr Watson said.

‘The partnership will provide additional support to Queensland exporters taking their products and services to the Chinese market and promote Queensland as an attractive destination for foreign investment.

‘I look forward to taking the next step in the long and prosperous relationship between TIQ and ACBC Queensland.’

ACBC Queensland Branch CEO Wen Gu said the partnership had been formed at an unprecedented time.

‘China remains Queensland’s largest two-way trading partner and will certainly play an important role in the state’s economic recovery journey,’ Ms Gu said.

‘This partnership will see us work with TIQ to support Queensland business to get through the COVID-19 crisis by expanding and diversify the support, insights and intelligence that we can provide to our members and friends.’

The partnership has already launched its first initiative, a webinar series to support business to create response and recovery strategies to the COVID-19 crisis.

The ‘Navigating your business through COVID-19’ webinar series invites expert speakers from various sectors to provide targeted advice and insights on topics, including the Chinese market recovery, the survival of Australian businesses, opportunities within the Chinese market, contract disputes and supply chain management.

ACBC Queensland Branch and TIQ have also been working to create a virtual library where industry leaders can come together to share insights and experiences through a digital platform.

Ms Gu said the short-term and long-term impacts of COVID-19 would present both challenges and opportunities for exporters going forward.

‘With the COVID-19 crisis having a profound effect on industries and markets worldwide, it’s easy to get caught up in the challenges and difficulties of just dealing with day-to-day business and not retain focus on the medium- to long-term outlook,’ she said.

‘As China’s economy has begun to show signs of recovery, and demand for Australian products increases, now is the time for Queensland businesses to focus on their recovery strategy by re-positioning themselves in the Chinese market and targeting new opportunities that have emerged.

‘It is inspiring to see some Queensland member companies have been nimble and pivoted their business quickly.’

China is identified as a major growth market in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.

Information for exporters affected by COVID-19 is available on the TIQ industry recovery package webpage.

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Register now for COVID-19 air freight support

The Australian Government has appointed a network of air freight forwarders and providers to help restore export supply chains disrupted by COVID-19, and is calling on exporters to register their interest in using the service – even if they have previously registered.

The Australian Government has appointed a network of air freight forwarders and providers to help restore supply chains disrupted by COVID-19, and is calling on exporters to register their interest in using the service – even if they have previously registered.

The government announced late last week that it had appointed 6 freight forwarders and 9 air freight providers to service key export routes under the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM).

IFAM aims to reduce the freight impacts of COVID-19 on Australia’s agricultural and fisheries exporters, who have experienced cost consequences and reduced access to freight services as a result of the pandemic.

Under IFAM, the federal government will meet a portion of airfreight costs, and the IFAM Coordinator-General will work with forwarders and providers to establish efficient and timely logistics.

The forwarders will link Australia’s agricultural and fisheries producers to export hubs, while the freight providers’ proven experience in handling premium, perishable produce scale will meet the needs of seafood, meat, dairy and horticulture exporters.

To apply to use the services, Queensland exporters must register with IFAM, which will use the information submitted to determine demand, routes, eligibility and logistics.

Any exporter who registered for IFAM before 16 April is being asked to re-register now and supply additional information.

You can read more about IFAM on the IFAM webpage.

The Queensland Government is also offering a range of business support programs for exporters affected by COVID-19.

Freight forwarders appointed for IFAM

  • CT Freight
  • Schenker Australia
  • Kuehne & Nagel
  • Air Menzies International (Aust)
  • Toll Group
  • DHL Global Forwarding (Australia)

Freight providers appointed for IFAM

  • Cathay Pacific Airways
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways PJSC
  • Federal Express Corporation
  • Japan Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Qantas Airways
  • Qatar Airways Group (QCSC)
  • Virgin Australia Airlines
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Superbee honey now in China’s Hongqi chain

Queensland honey produced by Superbee has hit the shelves of over 3,100 Chengdu Honqui convenience stores in China’s Sichuan Province, just as the country emerges from its COVID-19 lockdown.

Queensland honey produced by Superbee has hit the shelves of over 3,100 Chengdu Honqui convenience stores in China’s Sichuan Province, just as the country emerges from its COVID-19 lockdown.

It’s the first time Queensland honey products have been sold in bricks-and-mortar retail outlets in South West China.

The deal was struck after TIQ and Austrade introduced Superbee representatives to Chengdu All Ease Way Trading (CAEWT) CEO Nina Ni at the Fine Food Australia trade event in Sydney in 2019.

CAEWT is the strategic cooperation partner of Chengdu Hongqi Chain Co Ltd.

Queensland Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner for China Julie-Anne Nichols said Superbee’s successful expansion in China at this time was exciting news for Queensland exporters.

‘Regional markets in China offer growth opportunities for exporters of quality Australian products with functional health offerings like Superbee honey,’ Ms Nichols said.

‘TIQ’s office network across China’s first and second tier cities connects Queensland exporters to local partners and supportd those connections to open new markets in China for Queensland products and services.

‘As China begins to reopen and COVID-19 lockdown measures are eased, we look forward to seeing new deals like Superbee’s continue to flow.’

The first shipment of Superbee honey arrived in China in February and went on sale in early April.

China is the leading market for Queensland merchandise exports.

Superbee was founded in Tanawha on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast in the 1960s. It is now Australia’s leading privately owned producer of pure Australian honey, royal jelly and propolis, and owns the Honeyworld tourist attraction on the Gold Coast and a production facility in Forbes, New South Wales.

Supporting exporters to enter new markets is a priority under the Queensland Trade and Investment–Strategy 2017–2022.

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Federal loans for exporters affected by COVID-19

Business-saving loans between $250,000–$50 million will be available to Queensland exporters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic under a new $500 million capital facility administered by Export Finance Australia.

Loans between $250,000 and $50 million may be available to Queensland exporters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic under a new $500 million capital facility administered by Export Finance Australia.

The COVID-19 Export Capital Facility is designed to help previously profitable exporters who are unable to gain finance from commercial sources due to COVID-19.

Its goal is to help exporters, including tourism and education businesses, mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To apply for a loan under the new facility, you must be an Australian business that:

  • is an exporter, or operates in an export supply chain
  • has been trading for at least 2 years
  • has an annual turnover of at least $250,000
  • was profitable in either of the 2 financial years prior to markets being impacted by COVID-19
  • cannot secure finance from the private market because of COVID-19.

A competitive, commercial interest rate will apply to the loans, depending on your business’s risk profile and its ability to service debt. Deferrals of principal and interest repayments may also be available, depending on your circumstances.

The new lending facility will complement other support measures previously announced by the Australian Government, which support banks to lend to new and existing business clients. Before applying to the new facility, exporters should contact their banks to find out what assistance may be available through that avenue.

Export Finance Australia is the Australian Government’s export credit agency, which works with banks to provide financial solutions for small to medium-sized exporters and supply-chain businesses. In addition to the COVID-19 Export Capital Facility, Export Finance Australia will continue to provide assistance to existing customers through access to credit and financial relief.

The Queensland Government is also offering a range of business support programs for exporters affected by COVID-19.

Supporting Queensland exporters is a priority under the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017-2022.

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Rodds Bay Solar Farm reaches pre-construction milestone

The 300MW Rodds Bay Solar Farm south of Gladstone has issued its Notice to Proceed under its connection agreement with Powerlink, and is now planning to begin construction later this year.

The 300MW Rodds Bay Solar Farm south of Gladstone has issued a Notice to Proceed under its connection agreement with Powerlink, and is now planning to begin construction later this year.

One of Australia’s largest solar projects, Rodds Bay is being developed by Renew Estate, a joint venture between Australian companies Energy Estate and Beast Solutions and Germany’s Wirsol (part of the Wircon Group, which also owns the Whitsunday, Hamilton and Clermont solar farms in Queensland).

In a statement issued on 2 April, Renew Estate announced that the project had passed all required tests related to system strength and generator performance, had received planning approval from Gladstone Regional Council, and had issued its Notice to Proceed.

Renew Estate Director Simon Currie said construction was now scheduled to commence by late 2020, and this was great news for both the project and the economy.

‘We continue to passionately believe that this project will deliver significant and impactful benefits not just to Gladstone, but also to the wider regional economy in Queensland across 2020 and 2021,’ Mr Currie said.

‘Our vision for this solar farm has always been to create positive and enduring social and economic legacies, including the creation of hundreds of jobs during construction.

‘We currently have nearly 400 businesses and individuals on our database who have registered an interest in the construction or operational phase of the solar farm.

‘It will be one of the first renewable energy projects located close to Gladstone and will play a pivotal role in enabling Gladstone to become the future energy capital of Australia.’

Rodd’s Bay is a 300MW (DC) project that will also include a battery-storage installation of 82MW/164MWh, or 2 hours of storage.

It will connect to Queensland’s 275kV transmission network south of Gladstone, between Bororen and Rodds Bay.

Renewables are identified as a growing export market in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022, and Queensland’s renewables projects have attracted significant international investment, including the recently announced MacIntyre Wind Farm Precinct near Warwick.

TIQ is working with Energy Estate to seek investment for other large-scale Queensland renewables projects and to help develop and enhance relevant local supply chains.

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Trade data shows COVID-19 impacts but LNG, beef strong

Queensland’s 12-month trade data to the end of February reflects the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak, but shows annual beef and LNG exports strong for the year to date, according to figures just released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Queensland’s 12-month trade data to the end of February reflects the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak, but shows annual beef and LNG exports strong for the year to date, according to international trade figures just released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

ABS data released on 7 April shows that, in the 12 months to end February 2020, Queensland’s goods exports were valued at $83.3 billion, down 0.1% ($99 million) from the same period last year, largely due to the fall in exports following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key areas experiencing impacts in January and February were seafood, horticulture and meat exports to various markets, especially China, which is Queensland’s largest market for the export of goods.

However, beef export figures for the year to date were a bright spot, with exports for the 12 months to the end of February valued at $6.8 billion, up 23.6% ($1.3 billion) from the same period last year.

This reflects strong sales prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. The outbreak reduced beef exports, especially to China, and its overall impact on Queensland’s beef exports is expected to become clearer in coming months.

LNG exports also performed well, valued at $15.4 billion for the 12 months to the end of February, up 3.1% ($455 million) from the same period last year. LNG deliveries to China decreased in January and February due to COVID-19, but this was offset by deliveries to alternative LNG markets such as Malaysia, Korea and Japan.

Vegetable exports also held steady for the year ending February 2020, led by chickpea exports, primarily to Bangladesh and Pakistan.

The rankings of Queensland’s top export markets remained unchanged in the 12 months to the end of February, with China, Japan, India and Korea still the top four destinations for Queensland goods.

Future trade figures are expected to reveal more about the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on Queensland exports to various markets.

Queensland is consistently among Australia’s strongest export performers, with annual export income in recent data periods regularly exceeding that of New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania combined.

Supporting Queensland exporters is a priority under the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022. Information for exporters affected by COVID-19 is available on the TIQ industry recovery package webpage.