Queensland Set to Welcome Artificial Intelligence Hub
Queensland Set to Welcome AI Hub. The Queensland government has unveiled plans to build an artificial intelligence hub in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley.
The new training hub, dubbed The Precinct, will aim to help fill the skills gap created by the surging artificial intelligence sector.
The government will provide seed funding out of its $650 million Advance Queensland initiative to fund the hub, but is relying on investment from the private sector.
Advance Queensland is a whole-of-government program fostering innovation and building a more diversified Queensland economy, with the target of creating jobs now and for the future.
“Queensland has a shortage of talent in the artificial intelligence space,” Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
“Currently we have up to eight times more AI jobs on offer in the state than people with the right skills available to fill them.”
The AI Hub will provide a co-working space for startups undertaking advanced robotics, machine learning and speech recognition along with mentoring and international networking opportunities.
Specialised training courses will also be offered out of the AI Hub for Queensland industry and public sector organisation.
Innovation Minister Kate Jones said the new AI Hub would serve as a training centre and a place for businesses to network.
“It will also help to attract investment into Queensland startups and innovative local companies with AI-based solutions for global markets,” Jones said.
“The seed funding provided by the government will act as a catalyst for co-investment by the private sector.”
The new initiative has already received interest from a number of international corporates, as well as Australian companies and universities.
“Overcoming decades we will see an explosion of AI and machine learning technologies changing the way we work, which will lead to incredible economic and community benefits,” Griffith University professor Dr Kelvin Ross said.
“As a researcher, investor and employer I am excited about the global opportunities available in pursuing AI innovation in Queensland given our local capabilities for talent, technology and entrepreneurship.”
While the government has allocated seed funding and floor space for the hub, it is now calling for co-investment from the private sector.
City Deal a $58bn ‘Game Changer’ for Southeast Queensland
South-east Queensland could be green-lit for the biggest “city deal” in Australia, with a $58 billion proposal to guide its growth, and the prime minister announcing his support for the major plan.
With a focus on supporting diverse sectors within the region including housing and planning, tourism, manufacturing and education, the SEQ City Deal could also pave the way for government-owned land to be opened for development.
Queensland deputy premier Jackie Trad this week released Transforming SEQ, which highlights 35 “opportunities” that could be considered as part of the future City Deal, including six “game changers” for the region.
“Modelling by KPMG has shown a SEQ City Deal could stimulate an increase of up to $58 billion in our economy by improving the productivity and competitiveness of the region,” Trad said.
Prime minister Scott Morrison will be meeting with the SEQ Mayors and Queensland government to discuss the proposal this week.
The City Deal, which involves all three levels of government — council, state and federal — would see government working on priorities to drive the SEQ economy.
Under a City Deal plan, all three levels of government sign an agreement to set the priority infrastructure projects and initiatives.
Integrated land-use planning approach?
Property Council chief executive Ken Morrison described the announcement as “a game-changer for the region.
“Our growing cities and urban regions are the engine rooms of the Australian economy,” Morrison said.
“The city deal model brings together all levels of government around the same plan to boost productivity and jobs through targeted investment in city-shaping projects and infrastructure.”
Property Council Queensland director Chris Mountford said the council has been collaborating with state government and SEQ councils for nearly six years on the potential for a city deal.
“The State and local governments have also agreed in principle to a more coordinated integrated land-use planning approach,”
“Opening up under-utilised government-owned land for development has also been agreed as a clear opportunity to unlock economic activity, create jobs and build business confidence.”
The region’s current 3.5 million population is forecast to increase to 5.3 million within the next 25 years, ultimately requiring an extra 800,000 homes and additional one million jobs.
Focus has been placed on the recently released people mass movement study which identifies the impact of the expected population growth on the region’s ability to cope with future transport demand.
Minister for Cities Alan Tudge said he, along with the prime minister, will be meeting with the SEQ Mayors to discuss the Deal.
“We need to cater for this rising population and the SEQ City Deal will be a huge step forward,” Tudge said.
South-east Queensland is already home to over two-thirds of the state’s population.
The region is home to nearly one in every seven Australians.
The agreement marks the second city deal for Queensland following the policy being first established in Townsville.
So far, city deals have been developed for Western Sydney, Townsville and Launceston, and a further four more are currently under negotiation in Adelaide, Hobart, Perth and Geelong.
Government considers sinking old trains for a rollingstock reef
Queensland’s old trains could be sunk in Moreton Bay to create the state’s newest artificial reef.
Queensland Rail’s fleet of old electric multiple units (EMU) are being progressively replaced with the New Generation Rollingstock, which are being fixed to comply with disablity laws after being described as flawed “from day one”.
However, rather than end up on the scrap heap, a proposal is being considered by the government to turn a few of the old trains into an underwater tourist attraction in south-east Queensland.
A petition, lodged in the Queensland Parliament, is calling for a small number of the fleet of 87 EMUs to be reused as an artificial reef in Moreton Bay when they are retired.
Transport Minister Mark Bailey said he was happy to look at the idea.
“I like the idea of seeing these old trains support new life as artificial reefs in Moreton Bay or somewhere else appropriate along our coast and have previously requested Queensland Rail to examine it further,” he said.
“That said, any plan to sink trains to the sea floor would need to be carefully considered from an environmental, maritime, tourism and cost perspective.”
Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science has advised Queensland Rail it would consider a proposal to use two or four retired EMU or inner-city express [ICE] train units for an artificial reef.
Decisions would have to be made on whether the site would be used for marine life or also as a dive site.
Depth, access, stability in storms and maintenance would also need to be considered.
It is understood the department preferred to use artificial reefs constructed from highly productive, stable, purpose-built reefs with expected life spans of more than 30 years over scrap metal.
No firm proposals have been received and no funding has been committed to the project or a feasibility study.
Greens MP Michael Berkman, who sponsored the petition, said supporting the voices of constituents was a great part of his job.
“The wrecks at Moreton Island are an amazing tourist attraction, and another artificial reef that commemorates Brisbane’s well-loved trains is definitely worth considering,” he said.
“The state and federal government would need to conduct a rigorous environment impact assessment, and traditional owners should get final say, but a “rollingstock reef” could be a beautiful addition to Moreton Bay.”
Rail lobbyist Robert Dow said the retired EMU trains were currently being stored in stabling yards.
“As to suitability for a reef, I’m not in a position to say either way, but my gut feeling is they’re too fragile and I don’t think they’d last too long in the ocean,” he said.
“They’re not like a ship, a ship is designed to be in the sea to a certain degree.”
There are several artificial reefs in Queensland, including at Moreton Bay, the Great Sandy Marine Park, ex-HMAS Brisbane, and ex-HMAS Tobruk.
Dive operators declared the sinking of the ex-HMAS Tobruk a “stuff-up” after it landed on its side, although the Queensland government said a report showed it could still be accessed by beginner divers.
Shortlist Unveiled for New QPAC Theatre
The shortlist of firms competing to design the Queensland Performing Arts Centre’s (QPAC) new $150 million theatre has been revealed after an expressions of interest campaign.
The five shortlisted consultants will now go on to develop concept designs for the new 1500-seat theatre, with the successful applicant to be announced later this year.
The Palaszczuk government promised $125 million in the Queensland budget to a new theatre, with QPAC to contribute the remaining $25 million.
When realised, the new theatre will make QPAC Australia’s largest performing arts centre, with the potential to host an extra 300,000 visitors each year.
“Today’s announcement of the shortlist marks another important step for the new venue, which will further Queensland’s artistic talent and increase our ability to tell unique and important stories for this and future generations,” Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said.
- M3 Architecture/ARM Architecture
- Richard Kirk Architects
- Wilson Architects
- Blight Rayner
- Cox Architecture
“With QPAC nearing full capacity, this new theatre will ensure our state’s four home companies, including Queensland Ballet, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Opera Queensland and Queensland Theatre, can continue to grow and will enable them to perform in front of audiences that will be double their usual size,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
All submissions in the expressions of interest process were assessed by the tender evaluation committee against criterion including capability and capacity, relevant experience and local benefits.
Source: The Urban Developer
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