Far North Queensland and Torres Strait communities will benefit from a $1 million program to spur innovation-led economic growth and the jobs of the future, thanks to a three-year co?funded partnership between the Palaszczuk Government and Ignite FNQ.
Speaking in Cairns today (Friday), Innovation Minister Leeanne Enoch announced the Palaszczuk Government was contributing $500,000 from its $6 million Advancing Regional Innovation Program (ARIP) to Ignite FNQ.
“ARIP is driving regional growth by connecting communities and boosting grassroots activities,” Ms Enoch said.
“The funding will support collaboration and encourage local entrepreneurs, business leaders and key industries to work together to innovate and strengthen the region’s diverse economy.”
Ignite FNQ is a special purpose company formed with the support of partners across the region – Regional Development Australia Far North Queensland and Torres Strait, Cairns Regional Council, theSPACE Cairns, Tablelands Regional Council, enVizion Group, Ingeous Studios, Northern Gulf Resource Management Group, James Cook University and Central Queensland University.
Ignite FNQ will roll out an action plan targeting youth, residents, startups and innovative small businesses, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and smaller communities across the region.
It will activate underutilised community assets across the region to deliver workshop events on entrepreneurship, innovative thinking and social enterprise.
Activities will be delivered in Cairns, Port Douglas, Wujal Wujal, Cooktown, Weipa, Bamaga, Thursday Island, and in the Gulf Savannah sub?region.
Member for Barron River Craig Crawford welcomed today’s announcement.
“Far North Queensland is strategically positioned to take advantage of programs like this because of so many factors, including tourism and the iconic Great Barrier Reef,” Mr Crawford said.
“That’s why the Palaszczuk Government is supporting programs, inspiring economic growth, innovation, and creating jobs, because we want to foster success across this region, and the entire state.”
Cairns Deputy Mayor Terry James said the funding was a positive injection into the Far North’s innovation sector.
“The Cairns region has seen enormous growth in innovation over the last few years, which we enthusiastically encourage through many of our grant streams, education programs, and our biennial Tropical Far North Queensland Innovation Awards,” Cr James said.
“There is enormous untapped potential in the Far North.
“This additional funding from the state government will help Ignite FNQ to provide structured programs, spaces and support for innovators across Far North Queensland, which in turn, will help the region thrive.”
Ignite FNQ Director Troy Haines was enthusiastic about the announcement and said Far North Queensland had an impressive innovation culture.
“This funding is a generational imperative and will foster the innovation ecosystem, harness what the region already delivers and, in turn, create regional jobs.”
CEO of Regional Development Australia Far North Queensland and Torres Strait Jann Crase said, “We are very pleased to be supporting Ignite FNQ through the ARIP and believe the program will provide the critical regional coordination, collaboration and support to grow innovation and entrepreneurship across the region, with a key focus on digital inclusion and meeting local community and industry needs.”
Tablelands Regional Council recently adopted a fresh corporate plan which has economic sustainability, community vibrancy and being a smart and enterprising council as key priorities.
Mayor Joe Paronella said the ARIP aligns with the council’s vision and will contribute to regional job growth, industry development and economic viability.
“We are thrilled to be a collaborative partner in the FNQ Advancing Regional Innovation Program as Tablelands Regional Council is committed to sustainable development and growth,” he said.
Under the ARIP, the state government is providing matched funding of up to $500,000 to 12 regions: Far North Queensland, the Sunshine Coast, North Queensland, Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday, Fitzroy, Outback Queensland, Wide Bay Burnett, Darling Downs and Maranoa, Moreton Bay, Ipswich and West Moreton, Redlands, and Logan and the Gold Coast.
Visit the Advancing Regional Innovation Program webpage for more details on ARIP, or contact Troy Haines of Ignite FNQ at TheSPACE Cairns on (07) 4015 2517.