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Advanced manufacturing in Queensland

Manufacturing is a big part of Queensland’s robust economy. It employs almost 180,000 people, contributing over $19.2 billion to the economy and driving innovation across a range of growth sectors.

Industry 4.0 represents incredible opportunities for a state already thriving in traditional manufacturing sectors. The government is partnering with industry to drive the growth of existing enterprises and transition its manufacturing base to advanced manufacturing.

Queensland has been recognised as a global Advanced Manufacturing Hub by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The WEF partnership opens up key networks for Queensland manufacturers, including the forum’s Global Lighthouse Network.

The state’s Advanced Manufacturing 10 Year Roadmap and Action Plan outlines its commitment. The roadmap contains 17 actions that target 4 key areas to position Queensland as a leader in advanced manufacturing technologies, products, systems and services.

It aligns closely with the Made In Queensland program, a statewide manufacturing program aligning government and local manufacturers to increase international productivity and competitiveness, and adopt innovative processes and technologies.

Regional support

As Australia’s second-largest state, Queensland boasts many thriving regional centres. To grow manufacturing in these key areas, the state government launched a $30 million Regional Manufacturing Hubs program.

Hubs have been established in Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton and Gladstone, with 2 more under development in Mackay and the Gold Coast. Each hub is a wealth of support and information for local businesses, offering:

  • business development programs
  • skills development and training programs
  • awareness of advanced manufacturing.

World-class research facilities

Queensland is home to many sophisticated research facilities, both private and in partnership with its leading universities.

  • The Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Hub is an agile technology centre in robotics and design-led manufacturing, drawing together the best scientists, technical specialists, designers and engineers to develop commercial robotic solutions.
  • Advanced Materials Processing and Manufacturing collaborates with industry and researchers to capitalise on emerging trends in manufacturing and innovations in material development. Its multidisciplinary approach blends technologies and processes to create new unique opportunities for materials development, processing and manufacturing.
  • Griffith University’s Advanced Design and Prototyping Technologies Institute (ADaPT) facilitates collaboration with leading industry partners to push the boundaries in advanced custom design, rapid prototyping and new materials.
  • James Cook University Makerspaces facilitate innovation in Townsville and Cairns. JCU believes success comes through collaboration, opportunity and spaces which allow innovation to develop and flourish. Its vision is to build and support a vibrant innovation ecosystem, which expands on existing activities and regional innovation initiatives and deepens its relationships with its innovation partners.
  • The Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast is a major hub for innovators, entrepreneurial startups and high growth companies, located at the University of the Sunshine Coast. This precinct has a purpose built 1,700 square metre facility, a dedicated support team, incubator/ accelerator programs, collaborative events, video studio, prototyping lab, professional partners and access to USC facilities and talent.

Incentives, grants and support

  • The $3.34 billion Queensland Jobs Fund brings together the Queensland Government’s current flagship industry development programs to boost the state’s industry footprint, create jobs and strengthen Queensland’s economy. As part of the fund, the new Industry Partnership Program will invest $350 million over four years to continue to grow and create jobs across a number of priority industry sectors including advanced manufacturing, hydrogen, biofutures, biomedical, defence, aerospace and space resource recovery and METS. This is in addition to a range of support and services available to support small businesses, and assist employers to train and upskill their employees.
  • You may also be able to access a variety of state government resources to support trade and investment, including growth stage capital through the Backing Queensland Business Investment Fund as well as the Investment in Queensland Program.
  • R&D tax incentives: up to a 43.5% refundable tax credit. Australia is 28% cheaper than the US before tax incentives; and 60% cheaper after-tax incentives.
  • Trade and Investment Queensland (TIQ) is the Queensland State Government’s dedicated global business agency to help international investors and trade partners harness opportunities by opening doors to local industry, economic development organisations, and local and state government agencies.

‘We ... received great help and encouragement from Trade and Investment Queensland, which was a defining factor in our decision to invest.’ Nigel Phillips, CEO GSA Group

Case studies

James Cook University’s vision to turbocharge innovation in northern Queensland has taken a big step forward, with construction commencing on the Ideas Lab. The facility will translate JCU’s teaching and research into innovation that generates jobs and economic growth for Cairns and the broader region. This $30m building is supported in part by $10m from the Australian Government and $10m from the Queensland Government.

GSA, a multibillion-dollar global leader in the men’s grooming market, has established an innovation hub at the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast. Headed up by a chief innovation officer, it will research sustainable construction materials for the world’s first-ever plastic-free disposable razor.