17 October 2001

Sun, sea, sand ... and brains, too - Australian Financial Review - By Helen Meredith

With Queensland's tourism industry taking a belting as a result of the collapse of Ansett, recession in Japan and the loss of confidence in international travel resulting from the September 11 terrorist attacks, some say it's time to listen hard to the proponents of the 'Smart State'.

Tourism has been a highly lucrative business for Queensland, but recent events have shown just how quickly this source of revenue can be eroded.

Securing the State's economic future requires investment in a range of wealth creators, and knowledge industries are high on the list of priorities and innovative ideas emerging from Queensland labs and workshops.

According to the experts, Queensland is awash with well-kept technology secrets just waiting for someone to recognise their potential. The State's innovation is highly diverse in nature, ranging from projects associated with agriculture, aquaculture and mining to bioscience, communications and IT.

The chief operating officer of Braintree Communications, Peter Hall, says not enough exposure is given to innovative projects that have yet to deliver products to market but ultimately hold the key to the nation's future prosperity. Investors are often kept in the dark, simply because new ventures have not gone public.

"They may not be listed on the stock exchange today - but they will be," he says.

His comments were made as he prepared to participate in a Queensland trade mission to China and Singapore. This is a chance for his company to make known its advanced communications technology to a wider audience. Braintree has recently been subcontracted to fast track the supply of a critical component to Ericsson, one of Boeing's strategic suppliers in a major integrated communications project for the Australian Defence Force.

Relationships between the world's most powerful technology organisations and smaller entrepreneurial ventures play a critical role in wealth creation. These can range from commercial agreements and acquisitions to investment in incubators and participation in co-operative research centres…


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