The vast and diverse Darling Downs and South West region of Queensland extends 397,241 square kilometres from the Great Dividing Range to the South Australian border, and comprises ten local government areas: Balonne, Bulloo, Goondiwindi, Maranoa, Murweh, Paroo, Quilpie, Southern Downs, Toowoomba and Western Downs.
The region is an agricultural powerhouse, producing around a third of Queensland’s agricultural output and is a major area for cotton and beef. Home to 270,000 people with an expected population of 376,000 by 2031, the region is also characterised by manufacturing, mining, energy, health, education and retail activities, creating a high demand for a range of professional and trade skills.
Food and agribusiness is the leading industry and the largest employer in the Darling Downs and South West region, generating 33 per cent of regional exports valued at over
$3.1 billion in 2015-16, and 15,000 local jobs. Agriculture represents 34 per cent of registered businesses in the region, compared with the Queensland average of 9.7 per cent. The region's agricultural capabilities and growth potential is supported by a suite of infrastructure, a skilled workforce, research and education facilities, innovation development and technology.
Mining, construction, manufacturing, health care and transport are also large employers in the region.
INNOVATIVE AND EMERGING INDUSTRIES
Transport and Logistics - The Darling Downs and South West region is establishing itself as a major transport and logistics hub. The connectivity and proximity of the region to critical transport corridors provides access to national and international export opportunities. Contributing to this growth is the provision of signiﬁcant nation-building infrastructure, including the Toowoomba
Wellcamp Airport and business park, the proposed Inland Rail and the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing.
Agtech and R&D - Research and development into genetics, agriculture production systems, climate and drones are world class. The region is a hub for trials and innovation from both the research sector and private agribusiness.
ICT and Big Data - Pulse Data Centre (Pulse DC), the ﬁrst regional Tier III data centre of its kind in Australia, is set to become one of the region's most valuable economic assets, providing a major boost to business innovation. Pulse DC is designed as a primary site to support corporate and enterprise customers, all three levels of government and global technology giants.
Customers can design their data building to suit their business needs, with multiple tier levels and tailored security requirements. All components of the Pulse DC design are optimised for the local climatic conditions. With diverse, ﬁbre feed paths from multiple carriers, the site is not reliant on any one major city for continuous connectivity, providing high level connectivity resilience.
This site is also an ideal carrier point of presence and a distribution hub, servicing Western Queensland and beyond. Pulse DC will feature three separate data buildings, each with independent mechanical and electrical infrastructure. With high power capacity and a large footprint, this site is ideal for businesses of any size, including global technology ﬁrms, guaranteeing exceptional delivery of a ﬁrst-class data centre at a very competitive cost.
Pulse DC will be a key driver of innovation amongst traditional businesses, such as agriculture, mining, education and health, as well as acting as a catalyst for growth in IT- related industries.
As the world population grows, demand for food will increase signiﬁcantly. The Darling Downs and South West region’s ability to produce a diverse range of products and its proximity to key infrastructure, including ports and airports, sets it apart from other Australian agricultural areas.
The region’s capability is backed by a skilled workforce and a strong focus on improving productivity through research and innovation. It’s well positioned to supply high quality food and ﬁbre products to new and emerging global markets and is an attractive investment destination.