Boost for tech en­trepreneurs

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - MATTHEW KILLORAN

DEBT PLAN

RO­BOT­ICS, med­i­cal science and bio­fuel in­no­va­tions will be tar­geted in the Premier’s $ 180 mil­lion Ad­vance Queens­land Bud­get cen­tre­piece.

En­trepreneurs will be able to tap into funds to set up new tech­no­log­i­cal busi­nesses and tax in­cen­tives pro­vided for re­search and de­vel­op­ment com­pa­nies to re­lo­cate to Queens­land, while more money will be pumped into at­tract­ing top re­searchers to the state.

While Queens­land has pro­duced in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned ad­vances, such as Pro­fes­sor Ian Frazer’s cer­vi­cal can­cer vac­cine, Trea­surer Curtis Pitt said more in­vest­ment was needed if Queens­land was to “thrive as a global in­no­va­tion hub”.

Premier An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk said Ad­vance Queens­land was about di­ver­si­fy­ing the econ­omy and cre­at­ing jobs.

“We know if we di­ver­sify our econ­omy, teach stu­dents the new ar­eas of STEM ( science, tech­nol­ogy en­gi­neer­ing and math­e­mat­ics), cod­ing and ro­bot­ics, we are well placed to meet the de­mands of the chang­ing world,” she said.

Key as­pects of the Ad­vance Queens­land in­clude a $ 40 mil­lion busi­ness in­vest­ment at­trac­tion fund to en­cour­age coin­vest­ment and ven­ture cap­i­tal in­vest­ment in bud­ding Queens­land tech- busi­nesses, as well as $ 25 mil­lion to go to­wards re­search and de­vel­op­ment projects.

Another $ 24 mil­lion has been set aside to ex­pand “in­cu­ba­tors” fo­cused on de­vel­op­ing start- up, tech­nol­ogy- based busi­nesses or prod­ucts.

There will also be an ef­fort to at­tract new tech­nol­o­gy­based start- up com­pa­nies, par- tic­u­larly in fields such as ro­bot­ics, bio­fuel and agri­cul­tural ad­vance­ment, as well as lur­ing ex­pert re­searchers to the state to boost ar­eas like med­i­cal re­search.

Mr Pitt said com­pa­nies es­tab­lished through Ad­vance Queens­land pro­grams would be given three- year pay­roll tax ex­emp­tions.

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