The Queensland government is inviting industry, researchers and communities to make submissions about how the state can grow its local drone industry through the release of the Queensland Drones Strategy Consultation Paper.
The paper – the first of its kind in Australia – is part of the state’s plan to implement a whole-of-government strategy to address opportunities and regulatory challenges faced by the drone industry.
The move has been welcomed by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), the department that has been responsible for regulating the country’s aerial drone safety laws to date, and which says Queensland is home to approximately 25 per cent of the total certified operators across Australia.
“We are supportive of the drone industry, so welcome any developments. Of course, safety must come first,” a CASA spokesperson said.
The Queensland government assured safety and security around protecting privacy rights will be a critical priority that it will address as part of the process.
The paper outlined five key objectives that the government wants to achieve for the local drone industry:
- Increase industry, research and workforce capabilities
- Improve government service delivery capabilities including developing a drone policy and enhance emergency services for remote communities
- Increase research and development
- Attract new national and international investment
- Develop and support community-friendly drones policies
“Our whole-of-government Drones Strategy will be the first of its kind in Australia, and will help to ensure we have the right policies and programs in place to back future technologies and create jobs,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said in a statement.
“To ensure we get it right, we need everyone to have their say – business, industry, research and the community.
“We need to ensure industry can thrive, our research and development opportunities are maximised, our rights are protected and investment continues to flow into Queensland.”
The paper also lists the way in which a variety of departments are already using or testing drones, including the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES), which has already provided input into the Drones Strategy.
“Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) is trialling the use of drone technology to further enhance emergency response capabilities and improve personnel safety and situational awareness during emergency incidents, post natural disasters and in preparation for significant events,” a QFES spokesperson said.
“This trial commenced in July 2017, and will run until December 2018, and is taking place in multiple locations across Queensland.
“The trial is intended to inform QFES’ decision making around potential applications for drones and robotics within emergency response and guide the department’s future investment in this technology.”
Consultation closes on 6 October 2017.