Australia has a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a world leading robotics sector that will strengthen all sectors of the economy.
Capitalising on the nation’s leading position in field robotics, national peak body Robotics Australia Group (RAG) has joined forces with 12 emerging robotics companies to drive forward a unique initiative.
RAG is proposing the development of the Australian Robotics Ventures Factory (the RoboFactory) and the creation of an Emerald Tech Park to grow Australian robotics companies, design and test new industry solutions for agriculture, resources, defence and space sectors and train current and future workforces.
This will enhance Australia’s national sovereignty and create jobs, economic growth and export revenue.
Fundamental to the long-term success of the initiative will be a key focus on training for the jobs of the future to ensure ongoing employment opportunities.
The $75 million project, which has strong support from the Central Highlands Regional Council, will be developed with grant funding sought from the Commonwealth Government’s MMI-Collaboration fund.
With an initial focus on establishing the Emerald Tech Park on the site of the former Emerald Agricultural College, RAG will leverage the investment and expertise of leading Australian robotics companies who will design, test and manufacture technology solutions in Queensland’s Central Highlands.
Sharing ideas and leveraging capability
The Emerald Tech Park will then be virtually interconnected to other test facilities right across Australia. This will create an Industry 4.0 project that is unparalleled in Australia.
“Robotics companies need this RoboFactory to share ideas, achieve economies of scale and leverage capability,” says RAG Executive Director Dr Sharna Glover.
“We have 12 amazing and innovative robotics companies already signed up along with another 20 ready to join.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Queensland and Australia and one which will be lost if we don’t act now.”
Dr Glover says Australian industry is tired of importing solutions.
“They want to partner with Australian companies who are among the best in the world and have that expertise available locally.
Preparing for jobs of the future
“Importantly, in the Central Highlands, the RoboFactory will support new training pathways to prepare the regional workforce for the jobs of the future and provide education and upskilling opportunities to equip workers in agriculture and mining with Industry 4.0 relevant skills.”
Dr Glover is confident the new project will deliver fast and effective outcomes.
“We are looking forward to the support of Government to grow this vital new sector.”
Central Highlands Regional Council Mayor Cr Kerry Hayes echoed the importance of the project for the Central Highlands.
“The Central Highlands is the pre-eminent location for this exciting new venture,” Cr Hayes explained.
“Nowhere in the nation is there a closer symbiosis between agricultural and mining technology in practical operation and displaying its real value.
“We bring a strong local innovation ethic to the opportunity with RAG’s emerging robotics partners and the Ag College location is perfect for the proposed Technology Park.
“The timing is also perfect for our communities and provides a definitive and productive pathway for our workforces of the future,” he said.