The Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday (MIW) region is currently going through one of the most significant economic transformations in its history.
From resource dependent to knowledge-intensive, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is characterised by the added-value afforded by new technologies and is shaping the way we work, live and play.
The region supports more than 85,000 jobs and produces $42 billion dollars of economic output every year, which is exactly what our economic transformation can build on with the right mindset.
What this means for our region is that while new, knowledge-intensive roles in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and bio-futures emerge, our major industries of mining and METS will grow as a result, already producing more than $19 billion every year.
“When we talk about transformation, we’re talking about the journey our community has gone through,” said Kylie Porter, CEO of GW3.
“It’s about capitalising on our current strengths and looking for ways to pivot, adapt and transfer into emerging industries.”
Ms Porter believes MIW must lean into the region’s economic transformation with an “all-in approach” that fosters innovation and entrepreneurship within communities.
Going “all-in” means building innovative thinking into everything we do from education to how we share stories about who we are and what we’re doing.
The Advancing Regional Innovation Program (ARIP) has been running in the region since 2018 and helps embed innovation and entrepreneurship by developing grassroot programs that provide mentoring, capability development and small business development services for communities across the region.
The program enables entrepreneurs and business leaders to work closely to generate new opportunities, strengthen existing industries and expose the MIW community to the opportunities associated with innovative thinking and technologies.
In addition, GW3 has led an important piece of work to understand the region’s digital infrastructure capacity and what can the region do to improve the current state of play.
“There is no big bucket of public money to make sure there’s high quality digital infrastructure in the regions.
“We need to work closely together to make sure we can attract the digital infrastructure and solutions needed to take advantage of emerging industries,” Ms Porter said.
“In everything we do, we must ask ourselves whether technology can help us do it better.”
The all-in approach may seem like a lot to take in, but the path is made simpler when governments, businesses, education providers and community organisations across the region work together to create change in their communities.
GW3 and the Regional Jobs Committee along with the Queensland Future Skills Partnership are all working to highlight the jobs, skills and investments needed to help people thrive over the next ten years.
GW3’s Future Employment Blueprint maps out emerging industries, jobs and workforce needs as well as a digital infrastructure plan to understand what’s needed to support the jobs of the future.
The final part of the all-in approach is you - the people of Greater Whitsundays. Some of the nation’s top innovation experts have called on community leaders to share their stories of transformation and carve out a space for others to follow in their footsteps.
We want to bring people together on the Transformation Region platform to learn about the challenges and opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, celebrate this region’s business champions and provide a space for people to engage on these topics.
We encourage all our readers to learn about how the Fourth Industrial Revolution is shaping their industry by reading the Future Employment Study, browsing the original research and case studies on this website and subscribing to updates of our programs below.