Momentum building behind simulation training facility

Date published: 23 March 2022

Council has today endorsed a proposal to establish a company to develop an industry-leading simulation training facility for defence, education and health based in Townsville.

Mayor Jenny Hill said the facility, NQ Spark, would put Townsville and the North Queensland region on the cutting edge of simulation-based training and provide an economic boon.

“NQ Spark will focus on defence, emergency services, health and disaster management capability as well as an experimentation centre for research, development and human performance studies,” Cr Hill said.

“In 1922 the then-Council took the initiative to establish the first electricity generation facility in Townsville for the benefit of the local community. Years later, Council stepped back and let others take over ownership of the asset.

“This Council is now doing the same with NQ Spark. We know the benefits this facility will bring to our community so we’re supporting it to get it off the ground and will then step back and let the private sector run with it.”

The business case for NQ Spark found that construction of the facility would see an estimated $255 million invested in the local economy, with around $170 million of that going directly to local companies.

It is also expected to support around 830 full-time-equivalent jobs during construction and a further 380 jobs once operational, with more jobs expected as the business expands.

NQ Spark is being developed with support from James Cook University (JCU), Townsville Hospital and Health Service (THHS) and Queensland Government.

JCU Vice Chancellor Professor Simon Biggs said NQ Spark was a shining example of a core vision of Townsville’s Tropical Intelligence and Health Precinct (TropiQ) to create leading-edge, purpose-built infrastructure that will house the most exciting projects in Australia, right here in Townsville.

“Located within Townsville’s TropiQ, NQ Spark will bring together innovators and problem solvers from across industry to research, test and operationalise the latest technologies in Defence, Emergency Response, Medical Simulation and Marine Technologies,” Professor Biggs said.

“The opportunity for NQ Spark to be located within the TropiQ precinct is an undeniable advantage for our city to attract international investment and leverage a new knowledge economy with global reach and impact.”

THHS Board Chairperson Tony Mooney said NQ Spark was a pillar for the advancement of health, education, and research in North Queensland.

“Once established, the high-tech jobs created by NQ Spark will ensure we have the expertise needed to fuel our region’s growth and ability to rise to meet the unique health challenges we face here in the tropics,” Mr Mooney said.

“I welcome our continued collaboration and partnership with Townsville City Council, James Cook University, the Queensland Government, and the Australian Government as we pave the way for new industry and world-class health care.”