CQUniversity and ArcBlue
Supporting the local community to build a bespoke socio-economic solution that meets their needs
Year of grant:
When JVT became aware of an opportunity to provide seed funding to build the foundations of a bespoke place-based program designed to help create economic opportunities for the Townsville region, we knew we needed to lend our support.
The Q-SEED program (Queensland Social Procurement, Employment and Economic Development) establishes the framework on which to develop a collaborative, place-based solution to help create socio-economic opportunities for regional Queensland.
Based on a successful program run in regional Victoria, Q-SEED is a collaboration between local communities and stakeholders, CQUniversity, and ArcBlue – who are experienced social procurement consultants.
The objective of Q-SEED is to leverage local and social procurement and inclusive employment practices to create a stronger regional economy. This means working with local businesses to secure contracts, increase employment opportunities for people who are facing
barriers to work, and connecting more local people to local jobs.
The project harnesses the purchasing power of individuals, businesses, and organisations to drive inclusive employment practices and create ways to address socio-economic challenges within a specific region.
JVT’s seed funding is supporting the initial local community engagement and planning phase. Depending on the targets identified by the community, Q-SEED will then seek additional funding to drive the
implementation and activation phase forward.
Recognising that there are many Queensland regions who could benefit from this type of place-based approach, Townsville proved to be well-positioned to start the Q-SEED program, due to the significant
opportunity to transform the city. If just 5% cent of non-local spend is shifted back into the local economy with local suppliers, more than 1500 local jobs could be created. Those are jobs that are needed, with 23% of the population aged 15-29, and 9% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. The unemployment rate for those groups is 5.3% and 15.9% respectively.
Townsville is also likely to have the community capital and support required to enable a place-based approach. It acts as a ‘hub’ within the region – meaning that the economic benefits may flow to other regional towns. Based on the program’s success and learnings, the initiative also has the potential to be replicated in other regional areas.
More than just creating jobs, Q-SEED leverages local supply chains to generate greater opportunities for young jobseekers and the business community. The key is to identify opportunities to redirect spend and
incoming investment back into the local economy. The program then works with businesses in the region to identify suitable opportunities and supports them with the tools to employ more people locally, especially those typically locked out of the job market.
This approach empowers regions and enables long-term, sustainable social outcomes. The program leverages local and social procurement, inclusive employment of local people, and creates opportunities for young people while also increasing local investment that is a critical support for regional communities.
This initiative has the potential to achieve transformative impact within regional Queensland communities, bringing together major stakeholders to strengthen local economic and employment opportunities and sustainable planning capabilities.
Q-SEED’s focus on developing partnerships and collaboration strongly aligns with JVT’s ethos. Its potential to create multiple, sustainable and long-lasting impacts, directed by the needs of local community stakeholders. It also intends to build capacity of local organisations to better respond to procurement opportunities and employ locally, also make the project a natural fit for JVT’s support.
Q-SEED supports the local community to build a bespoke socio-economic solution that meets their needs. This builds local and regional capability and allows the community to collaborate to develop its own solutions. The intention is for this localised, place-based approach to be replicated in other regions across Queensland.
Through engagement with the local community, the program will seek to improve local economic development and inclusive employment practices, which contribute to Townsville as a place of opportunity for young people and local businesses.
City of Townsville: Image courtesy of the Queensland Museum. © Queensland Museum, Gary Cranitch