MPs call for Queensland innovation fund

Queensland federal MPs have called for further ministerial support for a $100 million innovation fund aimed at the mining industry in Central and Northern Queensland.

The initiative, led by MP George Christensen, is supported by Michelle Landry, Ken O’Dowd, Keith Pitt, Ewen Jones, and senators Matt Canavan and Ian MacDonald.

After a meeting with Cabinet member last week, Christensen said the fund would assist mining services and construction companies to diversify their client base away from mining.

"What we've got is a corridor of towns in central and north Queensland with mining services companies that have had to put off hundreds of staff since the mining downturn began about three years ago," he said.

"We're really looking for a sum of money that can help local businesses pursue new ideas, move into a new sector or buy some gear that will help them innovate.

"It's time the communities who helped prop up the economy during the financial crisis got their fair share."

Christensen said the funds could be distributed according to a strict, merit-based system in order to support existing jobs and to create new employment.

A $30 million innovation and investment fund ran in South Australia from 2008 onwards, which saw Boart Longyear granted $2  million for the development of an integrated R&D engineering, test and manufacturing facility for a new range of drill rigs and a depot level service centre for existing drill rigs.

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