Queensland to launch whole-of-government drones strategy

State government considers ‘drone zones’

The Queensland government says it will be the first in Australia to implement a strategy addressing the business opportunities and regulatory challenges presented by drones.

Queensland’s premier, Annastacia Palaszczu, today launched a public consultation on developing a whole-of-government drones strategy.

More than 30 per cent of Australia’s drone industry is located in Queensland, according to the government.

CASA figures reveal that the state houses 267 certified unmanned aerial systems operators, which represents a quarter of Australia’s total, according to the consultation paper released by the government.

“Queensland is strongly positioned to take the lead in drone investment, research and development,” the paper states.

“Our existing technical expertise, highly regarded research and specialist capabilities in platform technologies have wide ranging benefits across industry, furthering the promotion of Queensland as a drone innovation and development hub.”

“My government wants to take drone technologies to the next level and to see Queensland become a world leader in drone investment, research and development,” Palaszczuk said.

“Our whole-of-government drones strategy will be the first of its kind in Australia, and will help to ensure we have the right policies and programs in place to back future technologies and create jobs,” the Queensland premier said.

The consultation paper states that Queensland government agencies are embracing drones to “deliver services in a new, more efficient and responsive manner”.

“Examples include collecting intelligence during emergency or disaster events to allow real-time decision making, facilitating cost effective pesticide application in agriculture, invasive species management, aerial mapping and infrastructure assessment, and taking images/film for marketing and entertainment,” the document states.

The consultation paper foreshadows the establishment of a system of “drone zones” across Queensland to ensure “that business, industry, academia, government and the community are clear on where, when and for what drones can be tested, researched and used”

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is currently conducting a consultation on the safety regulations surrounding the use of aerial drones.

Earlier this year members of the Senate’s Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee called for urgent action by CASA to strengthen regulations relating to drones.

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