“Burning ambition”:
Brisbane launches digital economy strategy



blog It seems virtually everyone’s getting on the whole “digital economy” bandwagon these days. State Governments right around the nation, not to mention the Federal Government, are pumping money and other resources into the early stage technology sector with a view to stimulating local industry. The latest cab off the rank is Brisbane, which has appointed a chief digital officer and this week launched its new ‘digita strategy’. Nice. You can get the full strategy online, and The media release is as follows:

Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk today launched The Digital Brisbane Strategy to fast-forward Brisbane into the multi-trillion dollar global digital economy.

The strategy aims to kick-start a business revolution to ensure the city capitalises on the rapidly growing digital economy including the online market, currently valued at $US20 trillion, and future-proofs its living standards.

The strategy sets clear five-year targets including: doubling the number of Brisbane firms selling products and services online, a 35% improvement in productivity growth achieved through digital technology, and support for 50 promising local digital start-up companies.

Specific initiatives of the strategy include:

  • A new Digital Business Power-up program to help more than 4000 businesses with face-to-face digital training and information forums and a further 30,000 people through web-based support tools per year
  • Grants for budding entrepreneurs with promising digital potential and proactive programs to link dozens of digital business ‘start-up’ operators with potential mentors and investors
  • Launch of the Coderdojo program in city libraries to encourage hundreds of young people how to master digital coding
  • Hosting the TechConnect conference in Brisbane this April
  • The return of the CLICK! Digital Expo in partnership with Regional Development Australia

Councillor Quirk said the Digital Brisbane program would kick off immediately with the circulation of a calendar of upcoming digital events, the introduction of a digital component to the Lord Mayor’s business forums and a series of events for small and medium businesses attended by Chief Digital Officer Kieran O’Hea.

He said, while Council and the city’s economic development board Brisbane Marketing would drive and facilitate the strategy, the true success would come through businesses and organisations putting the necessary focus on improving their digital capacity.

“I see this as starting a focus of digital that will flow across the city and influence our priorities and our mindset,” he said

“I want Brisbane to become known as a city for digital participation, innovation and education. Many of our businesses already embrace the digital age but the city needs to act to speed the pace of change and help our business community to make the transition.

“Crucial to the success will be partnering with businesses and organisations that can drive the change and assisting businesses to find the people and information to help them.”

Cr Quirk said the digitisation of the global economy was happening rapidly and companies needed to move quickly into this space to increase efficiency, maintain competitiveness and grow market share.

“As geographical economic boundaries become less rigid we are already seeing overseas competitors take business from local providers through efficient online commerce and services,” he said.

“We need to win back that business and look for opportunities to globally scale Brisbane businesses and encourage start-up entrepreneurs with great ideas. If we do this well we have the potential to create thousands of quality jobs for Brisbane residents and attract significant talent from overseas.”

Cr Quirk said the digital strategy was centred around giving business access to quality advice, information and professionals to help on their digital journey.

The strategy also includes advanced forums for experienced digital operators, tailored training and mentoring programs and creating courses, programs and chairs in digital economics and entrepreneurialism.

“In some cases these would be developed by the Digital Brisbane efforts within Brisbane Marketing but in many cases the program will support relevant activity from other organisations and businesses developing support programs in the digital space,” Cr Quirk said.

“Brisbane is already well advanced in its digital thinking as one of the first cities in the world to appoint a Chief Digital Officer to help drive economic development and as a recognised leader in using digital media to communicate with residents and manage crises.

“I urge every business to start the digital conversation today and ride the wave of opportunity. Brisbane needs to have a digital state of mind and a burning ambition to lead, innovate and boldly embrace the future.”


  1. LOL. This is from a LNP Mayor? LOL
    *sniff* oh the irony! LOL
    I don’t…LOL…. know what….ROFL *sniff* more to LOL, LOL,LOL to say! LOL *sniff*
    Anyone got a tissue. I haven’t laughed so much in ages.

  2. The word digital is used 30 times in that press release. They must be digital experts! :)

  3. Ummm I read this and then read the qld govt screwup of the payroll system and I really want to come to this state to start my digital empire………….

    Gee this state looks more like beverly hillbillies every day

    • What are you talking about,HUNDREDS of millions of dollars being spent by the government in the IT sector and you don’t even have to do the work you are being paid for! These two articles go PERFECTLY hand in hand!!

  4. This is the same Brisbane City Council that is outsourcing 55 IT jobs?

    Bravo *clap* *clap* *clap*

  5. Cynicism aside, and that is not easy with the Lib’s white anting the NBN, yesterday’s transport chaos in Sydney shows yet again how working from home or nearer to home is the way forward.

    This would be helped by moves to a less paper, “cloudy” office.

  6. Why so dismissive? Is it just Aussie reluctance to think a gov can achieve anything useful?

    Yes, it could go pear shaped, or you could take part and offer constructive, forward-thinking useful comment to help it be a positive achievement instead of whinging from the sidelines and condemning it to failure. That kind of attitude gives you the environment you deserve. The point of government is to facilitate, not give, so if you don’t take part you only have yourself to blame.

    I personally hope it does well and expect all you intelligent Brisbane based thinkers to contribute, challenge and comment on it every step of the way to show the rest of the country how it should, and could be done.

    • Joe, it is not dismissive of giving Government a go, but the stupidity of that LNP Governments don’t. But then come out with this sort of stuff is the funniest of irony, if it wasn’t so tragic.
      Everything you have said in your second paragraph is exactly what LNP Government continually does. We see it each day. It is known as “Do as we say, not as we do”.
      I hope it works well also, but unfortunately the hypocrisy pollutes it from the start and no one else is to blame but the LNP themselves.
      BTW, Labor was guilty of hypocrisy too, but in a very different way.

  7. I’ll be interested to find out a bit more about this coderdojo program to teach kids programming at libraries. The release doesn’t seem to have any dates in it though.

  8. Wow – you’re all very harsh. It’s easy to sit on the couch and criticise people that actually try and change the status quo.

    While I’m not the biggest fan of Graham Quirk, at least they’re going to try and provide the community with training and grants. This is a lot better than simply spending money internally or giving it to the big corporations.

    If they can actually manage to do it, it has the potential to be a beneficial program.

    • Glad to hear that, Adam.

      While I am usually the first to be sceptical, I’m disappointed by those who want to roll out party political diatribe instead of being constructive and productive for the greater good of the industry.

      I wish Brisbane well with this and I look forward to see what the City of Sydney offers in this same space. I’m sure that the Clover-haters will roll up with their knee-jerk attacks on policies and programs they won’t bother to read, and offer no solutions nor viable options that address their concerns.

      It would be great to see Brisbanites [?] in the Digital / IT / Comms space getting involved and challenging inadequacies and supporting small wins over the coming months.

      Now who’s being skeptical.

  9. I think you should watch who get the contract to run the “Digital Business Power-up program”

  10. Hmmm, with the QLD Govt. involved, that wouild be like asking “Whose putting their d*ck in the socket?”

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