Sep 02

Entag Group CEO leads industry group to address the region’s ICT growth trajectory

This week the Sunshine Coast information and communications technology (ICT) industry celebrated the establishment of a regional industry group to drive growth in a sector that has seen the Sunshine Coast lag significantly behind national and international growth rates.

Sunshine Coast Business Council (SCBC) Chair Sandy Zubrinich said the new industry group was created as a result of more than 24 months of planning and support from local councils, educational institutions and private enterprise, who all acknowledged the need for strong leadership to drive sector growth.

“Whilst the number of ICT jobs in Australia has been growing faster than many other sectors over the past five years, this trend has not been reflected here on the Sunshine Coast,” Ms Zubrinich said.

“This was one of the primary reasons the SCBC decided to focus on this industry two years ago, following the launch of one of the region’s most significant pieces of communications infrastructure, the international broadband submarine cable into Maroochydore. This cable gives us the fastest international connection point from Queensland and east Australia to Asia and a significant competitive advantage for the moment.

“This coupled with a number of successful ICT businesses located here on the Coast — some who deliver world-class services across Australia and internationally in partnership with some of the most recognisable global brands — positions us well to drive sector growth and create more ICT jobs and careers in the region.

“However, let’s be very clear, the only way we will achieve this growth is if all tiers of government and the business community commit to prioritising our local providers when awarding ICT contracts. We have much of the capability in the region, so the industry group’s priority will be to advocate for a ‘buy local’ approach when it comes to ICT services.” 

Chair of the newly established group and Entag CEO Kris Carver, said the industry group would be tasked with providing thought leadership on future technology requirements and achieving above-organic growth rates in the ICT sector, creating new jobs to both attract qualified and experienced operators and retaining ICT graduates in the region. 

“Drawing on ABS and Deloitte Access Economic data this means delivering an annual job growth rate of more than 3.1 per cent year-on-year for the next five years, which we feel confident is achievable providing regional government and enterprise supports us with their business,” Mr Carver said.

“Our priority as a group is to strengthen our region’s credibility as a provider of professional ICT services. We have numerous organisations leading the way from a technology point of view, so our ability to consolidate and ensure their stories are heard is critical to the region’s long term success.

“We really want to put the Sunshine Coast on the map as a region that not only provides quality ICT solutions, but also ensures we are forward thinking, building our own local talent and attracting some of the best in our profession to relocate to the region to take advantage of the world-class infrastructure and strong industry presence.

“We understand that collaboration is key in driving superior commercial outcomes for our members and this group will provide us with a cohesive, powerful and respected advocacy vehicle to offer industry leadership and represent our industry to the three tiers of government.”

Ms Zubrinich said this week’s announcement would not have been possible without the support of the Board of the Sunshine Coast Business Council as well as several regional entities who contributed funding and support for the initiative.

“We would like to thank Sunshine Coast Council, Noosa Shire Council, RDA Sunshine Coast, the University of the Sunshine Coast and TAFE Queensland East Coast for their support,” Ms Zubrinich said.

“We also have a number of industry funding partners covering established regional and national businesses —  Entag, Secure Access, Absolute IT, Legion Telecom, Telstra, The Urban Institute, Quality Management Australia Systems, Tecoda and Civic Analytica — as well as Meshed, a new business to the Coast.

“Bringing together an ICT industry group to provide the leadership to grow this industry is key and will involve not only regional businesses but also national businesses such as Telstra, who already have large workforce and capability in the region.

“We are confident in the calibre of the inaugural management committee and their ability to lead and advocate for the growth of this sector on the Sunshine Coast and address the decline in jobs apparent since 2015/16. They have our full support and we will continue to collaborate with them to ensure we keep the spotlight firmly on the potential that the ICT industry offers to boost our regional growth and job creation.” 

The Group hosted its first meeting yesterday to vote on the inaugural committee of 9 members and saw Mr Carver appointed as chair. Other committee members include James Blackmore, Legal Business Partner Telstra; Jason Garland, Director Secure Access; Raleen Kaesehagen, representing Peregian Digital Hub; Dr. Simon Kaplan, CEO The Urban Institute; Angela Lisle, Faculty Director TAFE Qld East Coast; Dr. Rania Shibl, Deputy Head of School (Science, Technology & Engineering) USC; Richard Turnbull, Director Legion Telecom; and Robb Webb, Owner Absolute IT.  Bridget Murphy who is the SCBC Treasurer will be a non-voting member of the Committee for the first 12 months.

For more information on the Sunshine Coast Business Council and membership enquiries, visit www.scbusinesscouncil.com.au.

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