Remarks at theSPACE, Bungalow, Queensland

 

PRIME MINISTER:

..You know, it’s interesting in the era of the internet when all of us can connect with each other remotely and FaceTime with somebody at the other end of the world. Nonetheless, there is enormous value in people being brought together physically. And this is why shared workspaces -Innovation Centres, incubators, accelerators, with all sorts of names - but they’re all based on the proposition that we are very social animals and if we are connected, if we’re spending time together, we will learn from each other and be inspired by each other and – as I was saying earlier, each other’s ingenuity will rub off and we’ll come up with something even better.

So what you’re doing here is phenomenal and I want to congratulate you on that. We are, as you know, putting $23 million into our incubator support program right across Australia and I hope theSPACE is going to be one of the incubators making an application for some support - I’m sure you will. But the Innovation Centre Sandra, that you’re putting together, which we’re providing $10 million towards is going to achieve a very important element in our Innovation and Science Agenda, which is this; we have been, as Australians – Australia, we have not been very good at collaboration between primary research and industry and business. We’ve either- depending on the table, we’re either last or second last in the OECD on this. So it’s a big part of our Innovation and Science Agenda, which is part of our national economic plan to promote greater levels of collaboration. And what Sandra is doing at the Innovation Centre and working with theSPACE to ensure that you get that collaboration between the students, local entrepreneurs, business, industry. It’s absolutely critical - I hope more universities do the same thing because that way we will see more Aussie jobs, more economic growth here in Australia, coming from the great research that your university does as the leader in so many disciplines relating to the tropics. There is no university that comes close to the expertise you have and what you’ll be able to do is achieve so much more, I believe, with that Innovation Centre.

So we’re glad to be putting $10 million behind it and of course we are also glad, as Warren said, to be providing $20 million as part of our whole regional development project to support community supported, community supported projects here in the Cairns area, which will deliver stronger growth in this region. And they can range from local infrastructure, from a business for example that needs the support to buy additional equipment that may enable it to take it to a next level. The parameters are very wide but the critical thing is that there is strong local support. The Chamber of Commerce, we were just talking to the chairman a moment ago. Your involvement, the Council engagement, JCU’s involvement and of course the recommendations of local representatives like Warren are going to be very important. But we believe that both of these investments in Cairns are going to add to the strength of the local economy and to drive stronger growth and more jobs here in this region.

So I’m delighted to be here to make those announcements and I want to congratulate Warren and of course Jonathan who is the LNP candidate for Kennedy for their powerful advocacy on behalf of the communities they serve.

WARREN ENTSCH MP:

Just in saying thank you for being here, we really appreciate it. We all know, we all know that in the last few days the PM has been battling a bit of the flu. And I was very much aware of that and I knew he was coming up here to make these sensational announcements and we had to make sure that there was no confusion. We needed absolute clarity and for the strength of your voice Prime Minister and of course the clarity of your message, I have to claim some level of responsibility for.

I picked a lemon off my tree; I squeezed it into hot water and my beautiful wife Yolanda [inaudible] …the source there needed to be the rainforest, our beautiful world heritage rainforest trees and I put plenty of that honey into it. I presented that to the Prime Minister this morning and he looked at me and have a look at how effective it was.

PRIME MINISTER:

I’m transformed.

WARREN ENTSCH MP:

Lemon and beauty and the beast.

[Laughter]

Absolutely sensational, thank you very much indeed.

PRIME MINISTER:

Thanks Warren and thank Yolanda and the beast too.