Bundaberg ag-tech initiative open for business
Published:13 October 2020
CQUniversity Professor Nick Klomp with Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt and Bundaberg Deputy Mayor Bill Trevor
CQUniversity's new Ag-Tech facility, opened in Bargara on Tuesday (13 October), will deliver new and innovative agricultural technologies across the region under the Hinkler Regional Deal.
Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories Nola Marino said the project would boost agribusiness jobs in the region and be at the forefront of Ag-Tech utilisation, data analysis, research and testing.
“The Ag-Tech Bargara project is facilitating an expansion in agricultural production and agribusiness profitability by allowing local industry to access the latest Ag-Tech at early stages of commercial release as well as provide jobs growth by attracting Ag-Tech to the region,” Assistant Minister Marino said.
“The project will enable the trial and adoption of Ag-Tech on 50 farms across the region, engage over 20 Ag-Tech product and service providers, and generate over 25 direct jobs and a range of indirect jobs.”
Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said delivering on the project was a key priority under the Regional Deal.
“Future-proofing the region’s key agricultural industries through the latest innovative technologies will ensure the region is well positioned to continue to build on its agricultural heritage for decades to come,” Mr Pitt said.
“This project, delivered by CQUniversity and its partners, will provide the information, data and knowledge that farmers need to maximise productivity, grow the food we need, and be at the forefront of agricultural innovation.
“This project is already delivering with the rollout of the first technology on farms occurring in September, and now the opening of this new facility will accelerate this work.”
Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey said locating the facility in Bargara would position the region as a key research and development hub for Ag-Tech implementation across Australia.
“We have some of the most diverse agricultural production in Australia and the work being conducted by CQUniversity through their Ag-Tech initiative will establish a key facility to develop, test and implement new technologies,” Cr Dempsey said.
“Bundaberg Regional Council is pleased to support CQUniversity through this initiative and bring together a range of key Ag-Tech players in the region to build on our strengths.”
CQUniversity Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Nick Klomp said the project would increase the adoption and implementation of Ag-Tech by agribusinesses and kickstart the growth of a vibrant AgTech sector in the region.
“Bringing together technology, developers, farmers and researchers is critical to maximising the opportunities that Ag-Tech brings,” Professor Klomp said.
“CQUniversity and its Institute for Future Farming Systems is proud to partner with the Australian Government and Bundaberg Regional Council to do just that in Bundaberg.
“Establishing this initiative within one of the richest and most diverse agricultural regions in Australia will enable our researchers to interact directly with industry to develop and implement technology that responds to their needs.
“CQUniversity has a strong track record when it comes to industry engagement, especially on agriculture and our experts are delivering world-leading innovation.
“The launch of the AgTech project and the AgTech hub represents another significant milestone when it comes to CQUniversity’s leadership in this space.”
The Hinkler Ag-Tech initiative will:
- Facilitate commercial evaluation of AgTech products and services by agribusinesses
- Analyse the rollout and impact of AgTech across the region
- Establish a database of agricultural data layers for the region
- Deploy new regional sensor arrays to better inform agricultural decision-making
- Share data and information with farmers, researchers and industry players across the region to inform decision making.
The initiative is jointly funded with the Australian Government providing $5 million, CQUniversity $1.26 million and Bundaberg Regional Council $0.75 million under the Hinkler Regional Deal.
The project complements a broader push to deliver agricultural innovation in the region, with CQUniversity co-locating with similar organisations such as Greensill Farming and the Burnett Mary Regional Group at the Bundaberg Ag-Tech hub.