QATC closures

The Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges in Emerald and Longreach will cease operating at the end of next year. Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the agricultural industry had evolved significantly and change was needed to make sure training needs could be met and rural economies supported. Minister Furner said the decision to close QATC was not taken lightly, but enrolments had been consistently falling for years despite significant government support.

The decision was based on the Coaldrake Review report, which is available here.

AgForce has demanded the Queensland Government hand the agricultural colleges at Longreach and Emerald back to industry. AgForce plans to overhaul the institutions and the services they offer to form the backbone of a comprehensive, future-looking rural research and education system that offers benefits beyond agriculture. Read more here.

The Emerald College farms are important assets used by QDAF and others for the grains and cotton research that underpins our local industry profitability, and “Berrigurra” for beef. CHDC has been advised that it will be business as usual for 2019 for the research facilities, with the future to be determined as part of negotiations that are still to be had.

CHDC’s Central Highlands Economic Masterplan (CHEMP), which consists of a 30-year vision for the region and the 2017-2022 Action Plan, acknowledges the critical role that research and agricultural training will play for the region’s future success. It recommends the expansion of existing agriculture and trades education and training capabilities to establish a renowned centre of excellence in agricultural education and/or resources training; a focus on cross-sector collaborative research; and the benefits of formal public/private funded arrangements. It also identifies supporting secondary, tertiary and other training organisations to invest in providing agriculturally focused education opportunities and facilities to support AgTech, MechTech, STEM, METS and health-focused training opportunities to be delivered in the region.

CHDC will continue to liaise with QDAF, Central Highlands Cotton Growers & Irrigators, AgForce and other stakeholders to develop fit-for-future solutions.

Northern Ports are diversifying their trade with a focus on break-bulk trade services to agriculture

The From Paddock to Port: Supply Chain Forum was attended by 50 producers, supply chain members, and port, freight forwarding and transport representatives from across Central Queensland and Brisbane. Guests speakers included representatives from Austrade, North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation, Gladstone Port Corporation, Mariana Express Lines, CQ Inland Port, and GrainCorp, as well as a panel of locals who attended May’s ports tour.

Key updates from the forum included:
• Work is now underway on Phase 1 of the CQ Inland Port (CQIP), which includes a 1.6km CQIP-owned and -managed rail siding; a new intersection at Capricorn Highway; and a new 1.5km 13m-wide industrial road to be completed in June 2019.
• CQIP’s intermodal container terminal is expected to commence construction in 2019.
• GrainCorp will begin construction in early 2019 of the 180,000 tonne capacity super depot at CQ Inland Port.
• GrainCorp’s two 25 TPH grain dryers at Capella, capable of drying grain from 15% to 12.5% in a single pass, are commissioned and will be ready for sorghum harvest.
• The State and Federal Governments have allocated $1 billion to address pinch points at the Mackay Ring Road Stage 1; for the Eden Range realignment; and to upgrade access for Roadtrain Type 1 configurations at Walkerston Crossing.
• The Gladstone Port Corporation (GPC) is procuring a harbor crane to support the container and break-bulk trade.
• GPC is focusing on progressing Stage 2 of the Port Access Road upgrade and extending the Port Access Road from Glenlyon Intersection to Blain Drive.
• Mariana Express Lines / Pacific Asia Express began a fortnightly container service delivering from Gladstone Port in July, 2018.
• Since July, 95-98% of Mariana’s northbound trade (export) has been allocated and it is seeking to grow inbound trade to reduce costs for exporters.

Thanks also to CQ Ag Services and ANZ, who supported the trip north to “Wandina” to the Mifsuds’ impressive grain complex. Copies of the Forum presentations are available here.

Future Proofing Your Business: AgForce Moovers and Shakers

If you’ll be in Rocky, this is a worthwhile and informative event to attend. AgForce has pulled together a high calibre group of speakers with the excellent Peter Lewis as MC. Stay for the cocktail party to network and have some fun afterwards.

WHEN: This Wednesday, 12 December from 10:00am to 5:00pm, followed by a cocktail party from 6:00pm.
VENUE: Members Function Area, Callaghan Park Race Club, Rockhampton
TICKETS: Free. Register here.
MORE INFO: Contact Julie Sheehan, Regional Manager CQ, on 0427 021 370 or sheehanj@agforceqld.org.au.

Join the AgFrontier! Pre-registrations open now: Regional AgTech Incubator

Combining X-Lab’s startup network and tech ecosystem with CHDC’s agribusiness expertise, the AgFrontier Agtech Incubator will provide regionally-based startups the opportunity to work and grow in a dedicated program designed specifically for rural businesses and individuals who have practical understanding of agriculture.

For a cohort of ten startups and spin-offs, the Incubator will provide an amazing program over 16 months which provides:
• The knowledge you require to establish, develop and export agtech products and services
• A tailored curriculum of regular workshops, virtual coaching, as well as coaching visits to your business
• Access to mentors with national and international expertise
• Connect you to tech expertise to develop your ideas (if required)
• Access to new national and international customers, investors and peer networks through AgTeCH19 (Emerald) and AgTeCH20 (Mungindi) and a Global Linkages mission to San Francisco and Boulder, Colorado, US.
• Regionally-based co-working, kitchen and meeting spaces with high speed wifi
• The opportunity to pitch to investors at the conclusion of the Incubator program
• Introduction and a launching pad to international Agtech Accelerator TERRA (San Francisco) upon graduation; and
• Zero equity requirement

If CHDC is successful in gaining Australian Government Incubator Support funding, AgFrontier will kick off in March 2019. Pre-register here to be notified when the cohort applications open.

Export Ready Workshops start 31 January 2019

Delivered in partnership with the Export Council of Australia (ECA), the Export Ready: International Trade Program for Central Queensland Agribusiness is an innovative program presented by leading international trade specialists and supported by CHDC.

The early bird rate has closed but registrations will remain open until 14 January. Join the fantastic group of local businesses already registered from the grains, horticulture and beef industries. Read more.

Bushfire Challenge

There is no doubt that the recent bushfires have terribly impacted many communities in Central Queensland and elsewhere in the State. Rob Watkins from Natural Evolution, one our speakers from this year’s Meet the Food Innovators, lost his banana plantation but – fortunately – kept his factory intact. Tragically, George Bird from Rolleston was killed in a bushfire accident while trying to protect his property, and all of us here at CHDC send our thoughts to his family, friends and the Rolleston community for their terrible loss.

Thanks to the more than 1000 firefighters, volunteers and support services who came to the aid of the Blackdown, Deepwater, Eungella and Carnarvon communities.

On that note, I wish for you all a safe, happy and WET Christmas and New Year with your families and friends.

Contact Liz Alexander for more information E: agribusiness@chdc.com.au or M: 0429 471 511.

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