Turning Queensland into Asia-Pacific biofutures hub

Image credit: haveyoursay.dsd.qld.gov.au

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced a $20 million investment under her Government’s Queensland Biofutures 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan that aims to position the state as an Asia-Pacific hub for biofutures industries.

Image credit: haveyoursay.dsd.qld.gov.au
Image credit: haveyoursay.dsd.qld.gov.au

Ms Palaszczuk launched the Biofutures Roadmap during the Queensland reception at the BIO International Conference in San Francisco, saying it would provide multi-million dollar funds to four key areas to boost the state’s footprint in the industrial biotechnology and bioproducts sector.

According to the Premier, the Action Plan will provide $5 million for a Biofutures Industry Development Fund to financially assist companies complete due diligence and achieve financial close to allow better access to venture capital markets.

The Action plan will also set aside $4 million for a Biofutures Acceleration Program to identify strategic catalytic investment opportunities and attract a signature keystone investor or investors to Queensland.

Additionally, $5 million will be allocated for a Biofutures Commercialisation Program that will specifically assist businesses – in partnership with a Queensland research organisation – manage the significant risk in the development and scale-up of technology.

And finally, $5 million will be invested in the establishment of Biofutures Queensland, a dedicated industry sectoral unit that will be the State’s focal point for biofutures industry support.

“I promised Queenslanders my Government would work towards creating the jobs of the future, and this Biofutures Roadmap with funding will help deliver on that promise. We are thinking long-term about the establishment of a major new industry that has the potential to create a fresh and long-lasting wave of prosperity for Queensland,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“As well as discussing biofuels in several meetings on this trade mission, I also met with the US Navy’s 3rd Fleet in San Diego, following my previous visit to the Pentagon last year. The US Navy, the Royal Australian Navy and the major airlines all see Queensland’s potential to become a biofuels powerhouse. We have the will and the determination to make this new industry a reality, and now through this funding we have the means to do it.”

State Development Minister Anthony Lynham said the Government aimed to create a A$1 billion sustainable and export-oriented industrial biotechnology and bioproducts sector, attracting international investment to the state by 2025.

“Global demand for the biobased market expected to exceed US$1 trillion by 2022 We have a favourable climate, a strong existing agricultural sector, a highly skilled workforce, well developed supply chains, proximity to south-east Asia and a world class research and development sector,” Dr Lynham said.

“All those factors, combined with a Government committed to working in partnership with the private and academic sectors, means we have what it takes.”

Ms Palaszczuk said Queensland was “already making great inroads in this area” with three commercial biorefinery plants located in the State: Wilmar BioEthanol plant in Sarina; the Dalby BioRefinery (United Petroleum); and the Ecotech Biodiesel refinery in Narangba.

“We have also poached Southern Oil Refining from New South Wales to Gladstone, where they will be building a A$16 million advanced biofuels pilot plant at their Yarwun facility in Gladstone,” she said.

“If successful, this pilot plant will be expanded to a large commercial-scale refinery producing 200 million litres of advanced biofuel per annum, suitable for military, marine and aviation use. The biofutures industry is a key priority for my Government, and we have now given industry the certainty and vision required for them to invest in Queensland.”