It’s full steam ahead for a new collaboration to drive innovation-led economic growth and job creation for regional Central Queensland, with investment from the Queensland Government’s Advancing Regional Innovation Program (ARIP).

The Central Highlands Development Corporation (CHDC) has secured nearly $1.2 million with partners BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA), CQUniversity, Rural Business Collective and C-Res (Queensland) to match the ARIP funding of $500,000.

“Building and Bridging our Region’s New Economy” is a three-year project that aims to connect, support and champion start-ups and small business entrepreneurs to build innovation in regional communities.

“We’re absolutely thrilled that the Queensland Government is backing this exciting collaboration between the corporate, start-up, government and university sectors,” CHDC Acting General Manager Liz Alexander says.

“The Central Highlands has some amazing businesses who are already embracing the national and global opportunities offered by technology.

“This funding will allow us to build on the strength of our regional communities and link them into the broader innovation networks across Central Queensland and at the state, national and international levels.

“This project is designed to achieve that by delivering a range of programs, activities and events that are specifically tailored to the challenges of regional and remote areas.”

CHDC is already working on several initiatives, including the inaugural “AgTeCH17: Build it, Use it, Profit” forum and field tour being held in Emerald on 8 November.

This will bring together regional and national technology experts and providers with farmers and agribusiness to showcase cutting-edge tools and equipment which can grow business productivity and profitability.

More information on AgTeCH17, including tickets and sponsorship opportunities, can be found at

Central Highlands Regional Council Mayor and CHDC Chair Kerry Hayes says the project complements the region’s suite of partnerships with BMA, and local and state government.

“This gives us the opportunity of working with the green shoots of technology in our region that are already growing strong,” Mr Hayes says.

“This shows that government is backing our area and is giving us the support to grow.”

The Queensland Government contribution comes from its $420 million Advance Queensland initiative to drive innovation across the state and turn great ideas into new products, businesses and jobs.

CAPTION: Andrew Bate from SwarmFarm Robotics, Gindie, which is one of many innovative start-ups operating in regional Central Queensland.

CAPTION: Start-up founder Fleur Anderson runs the digital platform Rural Business Collective from her farm at Theodore, Central Queensland.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Please contact Liz Alexander on (07) 4982 4386 or 0429 471 511


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