The Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise, which recently launched the supplier portal, hopes it will provide better local content outcomes for the region and also pave the way for other economic development organisations.
TSBE general manager energy & infrastructure Lance MacManus said the supplier portal filled a gap in the market between buyers and suppliers, enabling major projects in the region to hit the ground running with a directory of local businesses they can employ.
"By providing buyers with a succinct and practical guide to local skillsets, we have a higher chance of getting locals on the job and showcasing how skilled our workforce is, ultimately supporting economic activity, skill-building and long-term job opportunities in the region," he said.
"The data collected also helps to identify skill gaps within our local business community, as well as map new skill bases coming from the likes of TAFE Queensland, the University of Southern Queensland and the state and federal training departments."
The review of capability comes with an onshoring of regional businesses caused by ongoing COVID-19 market volatility and significant investments in infrastructure, which has helped the Toowoomba and Darling Downs region transform into a major logistics hub.
The state-of-the-art platform can capture business capability against a variety of major projects, both underway and expected to be undertaken in the region, with rail projects the first to be mapped.
"Understanding local communities and the supply chain can help generate outcomes in major projects," MacManus said.
"For example, the $1.8 billion Toowoomba Bypass was able to achieve 75% local content by engaging with the local supply chain early, which was a huge boost for our regional economy. Now that we have new technology to support further major projects, we wish to continue this benchmark.
"We are also working with Construction Skills Queensland to map $7.5 billion worth of rail projects proposed in South East Queensland and if we can get even 50% of that spend to be made locally, that could potentially set up our economy and job sector up for decades to come."