The Queensland government has committed another $142 million to support innovation in the state as part of its 10-year innovation roadmap.
The Innovation for a Future Economy 2022-32 roadmap details the whole-of-government plan for Queensland’s “time to shine”. Monday’s announcement includes $100 million over three years for new and existing programs through the Advance Queensland initiative which supports startups and scaleups in the region.
In October last year, while the roadmap was still under development, the state government said it could create 80,000 new jobs and add $11 billion to the economy.
The announcement was made at the Precinct, Queensland’s largest startup and scaleup support hub following a cabinet meeting on site. Included in the commitment is $15 million for the 10-year Queensland Innovation Precincts and Places Strategy and Action Plan or ‘A Place to Innovate’. A long-term strategy for the Precinct will also need to be developed under the roadmap.
This includes $10.2 million for the Innovation Action Plan and to support the Office of the Chief Entrepreneur. There is also $17 million for the Queensland Department of Environment and Science to support industry-science centres of excellence and to support university commercialisation.
When asked how she understands innovation, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said that innovation means jobs and how “we can do things smarter in our state”. She also highlighted the industries that the state economy should focus on.
“When we started on the Advance Queensland journey back in 2015, our aim was to drive innovation, entrepreneurship, and jobs to engage in the emerging global future economy,” the Premier said.
“That includes things like the internet of things, artificial intelligence, robotics and biotechnology – that in effect are producing a range of new and interconnected industries, including circular, renewable energy, personalised health, biofutures, and digital economies.”
The six priorities of the roadmap include capital attraction, research collaboration and commercialisation, sustainable solutions, innovation precinct and places, connected and inclusive innovation ecosystem, and talent, skills, and new technologies.
Grant expenditure through Advance Queensland accounted for around 1 per cent of the state’s total grant expenditure in 2020-21, or $32.4 million. Overall, across 52 entities the Queensland state government recorded $11.7 billion in grant expenditure, both cash and in-kind.
In the seven years since it was established in 2015, Advance Queensland has made $755 million worth of commitments. Minister for Innovation Stirling Hinchcliffe said that for every $1 invested through Advance Queensland, the state has reaped a return of $1.60, having leveraged $988 million from industry and other partners.
Queensland’s chief entrepreneur Wayne Gerard said that investment through Advance Queensland has helped attract companies and talent to move to the state.
“Going forward, advanced Queensland is going to continue to make Queensland, really tracking for entrepreneurs for investors for researchers to come and locate themselves to create businesses to create jobs and to create a future for our kids,” Mr Gerard said.
According to Statista, as of 2019, Queensland is the second largest startup state in Australia based on the number of established innovation hubs.
Premier Palaszczuk said that the additional investment in Advance Queensland and her government’s emphasis on innovation builds on the Smart State initiative, which began in 1998 under Labor Premier Peter Beattie.
The Office of the Chief Entrepreneur was launched in 2016 by the Palasczuk government to “cement Queensland’s reputation as Australia’s startup state.” In March 2021, former Chief Entrepreneur Steve Baxter warned that the state government’s focus on innovation had waned.
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