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Advance Queensland Grant to Grow Smart Spending

Q-SEED CQUniversity representative Steve Williams (second from left) with workshop participants. Advance Queensland grant to grow smart spending. BDmag June 2024.

A North Queensland project designed to boost regional economies through innovative local and social procurement is set to grow, thanks to fresh funding from the Queensland Government.

Delivered in partnership with CQUniversity and a specialist procurement consultancy ArcBlue, the Q-SEED program focuses on establishing a socio-economic framework that funnels local spending, social procurement and inclusive employment practices back into the community.

Piloted in Townsville last year, the program has now received further support from the latest round of Advance Queensland’s Regional Futures funding. This grant, alongside funding from The John Villiers Trust, will drive Phase 2 of Q-SEED’s place-based work to grow investment and jobs in Townsville.

CQUniversity Social Innovation Program Manager Steve Williams says the project will target job creation through smarter spending.

“Those jobs are especially needed for at-risk young people, and in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, where unemployment rates are well above the region’s average,” says Steve.

“Q-SEED is already working with people across North Queensland who want to address social issues in their community and providing them with strategic connections and processes to achieve that through their business operations.”

ArcBlue Director for Queensland and Northern Territory Elisabeth Lette describes the project as a “game-changer” for regional development, with Q-SEED to kick off Phase 2 with a series of events and workshops starting in July.

“If just five per cent of non-local spend by Townsville business, government and industry is shifted back into the local economy with local suppliers, more than 1,500 local jobs could be created,” says Elisabeth.

“The funding ensures Q-SEED can start creating procurement networks, events and training for the region to shift spending back into Townsville, and to create new jobs.”

Sam Scandlyn, Procurement and Contracts Manager at Port of Townsville, participated in the 2023 cohort and emphasises the vital role of Q-SEED in fostering regional investment and job growth.

“With a pipeline of future projects both at the Port and across the region gaining traction; innovative, local and social procurement practices are essential to ensure our communities reap the benefits from investment in our region,” says Sam.

“Since participating in Q-SEED, our procurement team has taken the opportunity to attend ‘meet the buyer’ and First Nations’ procurement events, to educate local businesses and suppliers as to our tender process and demystify doing business with the Port.”

Participants at 2023 Q-SEED workshop in Townsville.

Fellow 2023 Q-SEED participant and Business Development Manager at Mike Carney Toyota, Rebecca Gravelle notes the program’s crucial role in ‘closing the gap’ for employment opportunities and encourages other businesses and stakeholders to get involved.

“We are seeing many local business procurement opportunities go to Southeast Queensland and Southern State suppliers across multiple industries for product or work to be carried out in Townsville,” says Rebecca.

“As a local business, we work hard to provide opportunities to ‘close the gap’ of employment issues across a range of minority sectors. Supporting local truly means we can continue with these programs, assisting the community further.

“More businesses should consider getting involved in Q-SEED to explore what ‘closing the gap’ of employment could look like in their business and for our minority groups in our community.

“As a business community, we need to truly support one another and understand the strength in buying local across as many sectors as possible.”

The Q-SEED Phase 2 launch is on Thursday, 11 July, with a workshop from 3pm and networking event from 5.30pm, at Smart Precinct NQ, 143 Walker St, Townsville. Businesses and organisations interested in participating can contact Elisabeth Lette on

IMAGE: Q-SEED CQUniversity representative Steve Williams (second from left) with workshop participants

Image supplied by CQUniversity.

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Picture of Georgie Desailly

Georgie Desailly

Georgie is BDmag’s resident writer who is passionate about entrepreneurship, sustainability and regional affairs. She spent time studying in New York City where she was trained by some of the world's leading journalists at The School of the New York Times.
Picture of Georgie Desailly

Georgie Desailly

Georgie is BDmag’s resident writer who is passionate about entrepreneurship, sustainability and regional affairs. She spent time studying in New York City where she was trained by some of the world's leading journalists at The School of the New York Times.