OPINION: Without us, South East QLD would still be a big swamp

AN open letter to Minister Leeanne Enoch:

Dear Minister Enoch,

I'm sorry we didn't get a chance to catch up during Small Business Week. Can I just say how great it is to see the Queensland Government recognise the importance of entrepreneurs and start-ups in our digital economy.

As the co-founder of the Capricorn ICT Network, I have the pleasure of working alongside many of our regions IT professionals, as well as educators and researchers in CQ University.

Innovation and technology is a field I've been working in for 18 years. Over 12 months ago we started working in collaboration with Rockhampton Regional Council and communication tycoon Bevan Slattery to possibly rollout a fibre network for the CBD.

We also recognised the need to develop a start-up eco-system. My colleagues and I in conjunction with the Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation (DSITI) put together what is now Startup Capricorn.

On average, we have over 100 people attend our events. It is proving to be an excellent platform for anyone who is interested in innovation and entrepreneurship.

Last week I attended a meeting with our region's promotional organisations. We are working in collaboration to promote the amazing diversity and uniqueness of Central Queensland, particularly Rockhampton and Livingstone.

During this meeting I found out that CQ was overlooked for the roll out of "hot desking" funding.

I should have stopped there but as usual, curiosity got the better of me and I asked why.

I was expecting to hear something along the lines of "we don't have the population to sustain it" but instead I was told "Advance Queensland didn't know we had a start-up community".

Further investigations reveal a public servant in latte land didn't even bother ringing the Rockhampton branch of DSITI to ask if we have a "start-up ecosystem".

It's no wonder we here in CQ feel as though we are the Bermuda triangle of Queensland.

Not only do you ignore citizens and business leaders, but you don't even bother engaging with your own government departments here on the ground.

Minister Enoch, we here in CQ are the economic and innovation engine room of Queensland.

Without us, South East Queensland would still be a big swamp. It's time the Queensland Government remembers CQ for what it has delivered for the State.

I respectfully request your audience for the purposes of deliberating with you on how awesome we are.

Yours in technology,

Petros Khalesirad