The Peregian Beach Digital Hub will receive $200,000 in federal grants to deliver their world-first commercialisation program to fast-track adoption of promising bushfire-resilience technologies.

Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O’Brien said the Morrison Government is providing $100,000 to help fund ‘FireTech Connect’, a program designed to assist technology start-ups that are developing solutions to prevent, detect, fight and recover from bushfire emergencies.

“Exciting technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, satellites, drones, robotics and Internet Of Things can help with bushfire prediction, early detection, firefighting, communication and forensics,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Following the bushfires we experienced in Peregian Beach last year, it is great to see Noosa emerging as a centre of excellence for technologies that help tackle the problem,” Mr O’Brien said.

Mr O’Brien said the program would be delivered with $100,000 in funding through the Morrison Government’s Incubator Support Initiative’s Expert in Residence (EIR) component, which is an element of the Entrepreneurs’ Programme.

“FireTech Connect is bringing together mentors, business partners and procurement experts to help participating companies fast-track their solutions into commercial deployment to protect regional communities in Australia and abroad,” Mr O’Brien said.

“It’s an innovative, collaborative approach using technology to help keep communities safe from bushfires.

“These solutions won’t just help us here in Noosa or even just in Australia, they could make a life-saving difference around the world.”

A further $100,000 grant through the Regional Tourism Bushfire Recovery Grants program will help the start-ups put their technology on the world stage, with a FireTech International Conference planned for late 2021.

“The conference aims to help increase bushfire resilience by showcasing state-of-the-art bushfire technology solutions to an international audience of local, state and federal emergency response agencies,” Mr O’Brien said.

“As well as benefiting the Noosa tourism and accommodation sector, this conference will also have the benefit of attracting additional high-tech businesses to the region, bolstering our technology sector and local jobs.”

Mr O’Brien said the Morrison Government’s investment highlighted the strong innovation culture on the Sunshine Coast.

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, David Littleproud said these grants would help the Noosa region recover sooner from the joint impacts of COVID-19 and the bushfires, and would help build resilience against future fires.

“The Morrison Government understands that recovery from bushfires can take a long time, and we’re committed to sticking with fire-affected regions for the long haul,” Minister Littleproud said.

“These grants are one very important support mechanism that will not only have the potential to prevent future bushfires, they will boost the region’s technology sector, and get innovative companies and visitors back into the Noosa area – which is all good news for the local economy,” Minister Littleproud said.  


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