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How a new data hub will boost tech sector

15 June 2017

As a relatively small city in the Darling Downs region of Queensland, you might not expect Toowoomba to be a bustling metropolis of business innovation. However, Toowoomba actually boasts one of the most diverse – and robust – economies in Queensland. And recent large-scale engineering projects mean that Toowoomba could be set to play an integral role in boosting Australia’s technology sector.

Toowoomba is already a hub of transport and logistics. Now, with plans for a $500 million data storage centre and tech park, it’s set to be one of Australia’s key data and technology hubs, too. Significant investment in infrastructure means that Toowoomba is well situated to play a role in not only connecting Australia’s physical freight, but also data.

Boost regional economy and connect cities

One of the main objectives of the data hub and tech park project is to boost regional economies. Over a period of 20 years, Toowoomba Technology Park could create jobs for over 2,400 people and bring a massive influx of capital into the region.

However, the project isn’t about the economy alone. As Australia’s first regional data centre, the project also shows optimistic prospects for what the future of Australia’s connected cities could look like. Toowoomba already has weekly freight flights direct to Hong Kong. Eventually, the plan is for Toowoomba to be a major gateway between Queensland and other Australian cities, as well as the entire Asian market.

The addition of a data hub means that agricultural technology can flourish in the region. The tech park is aimed at attracting international ‘agtech’, manufacturing, software and biotech businesses. Some US tech giants have already shown interest in buying data storage in the region. It just goes to show that being interconnected can put regional areas on the map of booming, interconnected economies.

Ongoing engineering work will be essential

Toowoomba will need a boost in infrastructure to support the large-scale project taking place. Namely, this will include rail and transport projects. While Toowoomba has great road connections to Brisbane and other regions in Queensland, new rail projects will connect freight faster and more efficiently.

In line with the project’s strategic goal of connecting Australia’s regional cities, rail infrastructure will create supply chain networks for regional producers, cutting the cost of transport.

New frontiers in regional engineering

The transition to the NBN has opened up new frontiers for regional engineering. While data centres were once limited to coastal cities – namely, the capitals – Toowoomba now hosts the NBN’s main trunk route. This shows exciting prospects for regional engineering, as what were once seen as isolated projects are now interconnected and booming.

For those working in the engineering sector, this opens up exciting prospects. Not only will there be an influx of jobs in the sector, but the potential to work on new, innovative solutions means being a part of creating a more connected Australia.

If you’re interested in building the skills required to be a part of Australia’s engineering future, consider studying an engineering course online. Southern Cross University Online’s Master of Engineering Management enables you to study engineering online, so you can balance work and study. Speak to one of our expert Student Enrolment Advisors today on 1300 589 882.