Key global insights

Treasurer Jim Chalmers has announced an overhaul of Australia’s foreign investment system, to bring Australia’s investment laws inline with other western nations and Five Eyes partners. In the name of national security, the reforms aim to strengthen Australia’s control of supply chains and to protect sensitive industries, critical infrastructure, data, and critical minerals. Changes will be made to the current vetting process and include robust examination of how projects relate to national interest.

The UK consul general Richard Cowin was in Townsville last week to talk about unlocking new trade and investment opportunities, with a focus on agriculture and technology. Mr Cowin said UK was quick to snap up sugar exports when tariffs were removed last year and pointed out opportunities in the "agro-tech space". In addition, Ms Brumme-Smith, Townsville Enterprise boss, said $500m worth of metals were already leaving Townsville's wharves and entering the UK. Another notable opportunity was for banana waste. Bananas are the most wasted fruit globally. UK businesses, such as LyteGro, are looking to invest in Queensland and turn banana waste into energy and usable products in the drink industry.

Ultra Low-Cost Carrier (ULCC) Bonza cancelled flights across the Australia and entered voluntary administration on 30 April 2024. The announcement comes as global flight activity finally surpassed pre-pandemic levels for the first time in four years. Global air traffic rose above 2019 levels, with flight activity hitting a seven-week high in the United States and a 14-week high in Europe. China's activity is at 105.3% of 2019 levels. Brisbane is still lagging with international passenger volumes, reaching 91% of pre-covid levels. Bonza’s troubles could further hinder Queensland’s ability to reach higher passenger levels and connectivity.

The US is expected to exempt Australia from the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR) over the next 120 days. The ITAR exemption will reduce costs associated with requiring US export licences for dual-use goods. The exemption will help to support defence industry supply chains and innovations as part of the AUKUS agreement. Queensland's defence industry contributed $1.1 billion to gross value added and directly employed approximately 7,100 people over FY23. The exemption could support the defence industry in Queensland, such as the Rheinmetall NIOA munitions plant in Maryborough.

Pacific Island and Timor-Leste nationals will be able to register for Australia's new Pacific Engagement Visa (PEV) program from 3 June 2024, providing new opportunities for Pacific and Timorese nationals to live, work and study in Australia. The program will enable up to 3,000 citizens of Pacific Island countries and Timor-Leste to migrate to Australia as permanent residents each year. This will grow Australia's diaspora, deepen cultural connections, boost business, and educational ties between Australia and participating countries and support economic development in the Pacific.

A recent outbreak of Dengue Fever in the Americas has escalated to an emergency situation, with cases increasing by 50%. According to Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), there have been over 5.2 million cases this year, with more than 1,800 fatalities. Queensland researchers at the James Cook University completed a study from 2014 to 2019 that saw the near elimination of dengue cases in North Queensland. Their innovative solution was trialled in Malaysia in 2019 and was successful in suppressing dengue incidence by 70%. Queensland could provide a successful solution to assist with the current emergency.

Featured insights

$940m Quantum Funding

  • The Queensland and Australian governments have set aside $470 million for the company PsiQuantum who are aiming to build the first fault-tolerant quantum computer.
  • The facility is expected to create 400 direct highly skilled jobs by 2028.
  • PsiQuantum was co-founded by two Australian University of Queensland graduates, Jeremy O'Brien and Terry Rudolph.
  • The company will relocate its Asia-Pacific headquarters to Brisbane.
  • PsiQuantum has to-date been participating in the TIQ/HIT aQtivate landing program and based at the Precinct while the discussions on funding have been underway.

2023 - A Record Year for Services Exports

  • The value of total Queensland services exports was $14.8 billion - a record year, representing an increase of $6.1 billion or 71% since 2022.
  • Other services exports included transport services ($1.4 billion), business services ($679 million) and ICT services ($413 million). 
  • Between 2022 and 2023 Australian services exports to India rose by $4.4 billion or 78%, led by international students ($3.7 billion) and international visitors ($459 million) and ICT services ($136 million).
  • China regained top spot as Australia’s major services export market (valued at $14.7 billion).

In case you missed it...

  • Meta recently released Llama 3, an open-source large language model (LLM) demonstrating performance against comparable models.
  • Colombia has restricted the import of beef and beef products coming from U.S. states where dairy cows have tested positive for avian influenza as of April 15. It is the first country to officially limit trade in beef due to bird flu in cows.
  • US President Joe Biden will increase tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminium by three times to 25%, in a bid to gain support from steel industry workers in upcoming elections. Many view the move as symptomatic of a continued increase in global fragmentation.