STARTUPS, SCHOOLS, GLOBAL GIANTS: PALASZCZUK'S $180M 'LONG GAME' PLAN
Written on the 13 July 2015 by Laura Daquino
AHEAD of the State Budget, Anastacia Palaszczuk has called for Queensland to 'lead the pack' into Australia's future, in light of a suspected lack of commercialisation of ideas.
Noting that her signature has always been 'jobs, jobs, jobs', Palaszczuk is now rephrasing this into 'jobs for the future'.
It's about 'playing the long game' and this is something she admits 'won't be easy'.
A $180 million Advance Queensland package supporting this vision will be at the core of tomorrow's Budget, covering school curriculum reviews, the creation of a startup state and three new global partnerships.
At the Advance Queensland Launch Breakfast held at QUT this morning, Palaszczuk has emphasised commercialisation of innovation, science and technology output.
Palaszczuk pointed out Queensland's strong tradition in research. There are 47 research institutions in life sciences alone at the moment, probing everything from cancer vaccines to pain medications.
The investment in these areas has reaped significant outcomes in recent years - Palaszczuk notes the vaccines Gardasil and Spinifex, gaming studio Halfbrick (founder Shainiel Deo pictured right) and engineering software RedEye as a couple of standouts.
The focus of Palaszczuk's package is turning more of these ideas into investment-ready business proposals.
For the Palaszczuk Government, this begins at Queensland schools, which will be reviewed for the teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects as part of a $50 million Advance Queensland Best and Brightest Fund.
"This will include an assessment of coding and computer science, as well as early stage robotics, something I firmly believe should be a part of our education system," Palaszczuk says.
"We will also transform the teaching of STEM through focussed professional development, teacher scholarships and by working more closely with our universities to ensure we can better provide inspirational teachers of STEM subjects in all of our schools.
"The review will be undertaken by a team of independent experts and I expect it to be completed by the end of this year."
The 'heaviest focus' of this year's State Budget though - evidenced by Prime Minister Tony Abbott's visit to Brisbane tech co-working community River City Labs on the weekend (pictured left) - is investment into the local startup sector.
"Every big corporate starts as an emerging business that took a chance," says Palaszczuk.
"Startups can reshape entire industries through technology and business model innovation."
Palaszczuk has outlined a $76 million Business Investment Attraction Package, which will facilitate routes to market for startups through mentoring and co-working space, as well as improve access to finance and management support, and a Business Development Fund where the Government will match and encourage greater angel and venture capital investment.
"This model has been used successfully in Israel, the UK and New Zealand to build a vibrant angel and venture capital sector. In New Zealand alone, it has leveraged over $3 of private investment for every $1 of Government investment," says Palaszczuk.
"The Business Development Fund could help many Queensland businesses translate their ideas into products and services and access global export markets."
The third tenant of Palaszczuk's plan is a $46 million Advance Queensland Future Jobs Strategy, which aims to translate a greater number of Queensland discoveries into healthcare products and treatments.
UQ and Emory University in Atlanta, a leader in HIV treatment, will collaborate on a new Drug Discovery Initiative.
Technology giant Siemens, which is aligned with Massachusetts General Hospital, will also be partnering with Queensland to continue its world-leading work in the field of MRI scans.
Most prominent, however, is the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between QUT, the Queensland Government and Johnson & Johnson the world's largest pharmaceutical company.
"We must become the state that commercialises our innovations - not the state that loses jobs because of them," Palaszczuk says.
"I'm not suggesting that transforming our ideas into the jobs of the future will be easy. And I'm proud of the fact that these reforms aren't just about delivering immediate results, although I believe some of them will.
"We are determined to send a clear message to the investment world that we are serious about putting these links into place."