The Remote Area Planning and Development Board will kick off its plan to make western Queensland a centre for drone testing when it hosts regional Australia’s first ever drones symposium in Barcaldine from August 11-12.
The symposium will expose the region to the latest in drones and data technology with a program that includes industry experts, hands-on demonstrations, and a trade show.
The event will also launch Outback Aerodrone: RAPAD’s vision of a Centre of Excellence to position the region to be the location of choice for national and global companies in Beyond Visual Line of Sight drone testing.
According to RAPAD CEO, David Arnold, the technology is providing opportunities like never before to support rural communities, from agriculture to emergency services to infrastructure.
“The clear, open skies and light hours of outback Queensland are all part of what makes our region a great drawcard for the world’s drone businesses and enthusiasts, as well as other opportunities,” he said.
“Our tourism figures are pushing up to one million visitors a year, and this technology is another exciting area that can boost those figures and the many outstanding experiences our region has to offer.”
RAPAD chairman, Rob Chandler said leading the way with these technologies showed the region was on the front foot to deliver many benefits to the local economy, skills capacity and jobs.
“The central west is a place where everyone is ready to give it a go and technology is breaking down barriers in many areas - it’s an exciting time as we realise the significant amount of untapped potential we have here,” Cr Chandler said.
“Technology solutions such as drones are already on the radar or in use for many people in our region – generating local expertise, new businesses and jobs.
“By bringing together industry leaders and professionals from across the sector, the sky really is the limit for what attendees can get out of this.”
The Queensland government released its drones strategy last year, highlighting the importance of the fast growing sector and the state’s prime position in the global market.
Queensland is a world leader in drone technology and application, according to Mr Arnold, and the industry has strong investment and jobs growth, supported by a world‑leading research and development capability and a highly skilled workforce.
“Queensland is a place where drones complement and enhance Queenslanders’ lives and support our communities,” he said.
The Outback Aerodrone Symposium will be hosted at Gregory Park, 15 minutes south of Barcaldine, with bus transfers available.
Registrations are now open with package details and further information available.