IBM will expand its research and development operations in QLD thanks to financial assistance awarded by the Gold Coast City Council (GCCC), according to a statement issued by the GCCC on Monday 25 October.
The statement explains that IBM is a successful recipient of the council’s Investment Attraction Program which was designed to attract new business to the region. 34 new personnel will be employed at the existing IBM facilities in Southport as part of the expansion, although it is unclear to what extent these new employees will be funded by the assistance grant. The GCCC has not disclosed the figure it awarded to IBM but according to the Investment Attraction Program website, the minimum expenditure for the R&D incentive is $250,000.
The Chair of Economic Development and Tourism at GCCC, Cr Susie Douglas has highlighted the impact on jobs growth. “This commitment directly translates to the securing of local jobs, which may have been lost elsewhere.
“IBM’s R&D work will aid the development of the city’s knowledge-based industry, and help ensure there is an increasing range of employment opportunities for Gold Coasters as we continue to grow into the future,” she said.
More broadly, Cr Douglas praised the service provider, referring to it as a “global IT specialist”.
Director of IBM’s Australia Development Laboratory (ADL) Glenn Wightwick has also emphasised IBM’s experience, while complementing the work of GCCC.
“Our Australia Development Laboratory Gold Coast team have world-class expertise in IT security and they play a critical role in the development of the IBM’s Tivoli security product portfolio. This expertise and the support of the Gold Coast City Council through their Investment Attraction Program has been critical in securing this new development mission,” Mr Wightwick said.
The expansion of IBM’s R&D operations is also in line with the Queensland Government’s broader aim of ensuring that the region’s “reliance on the construction and tourism industries does not continue,” according to the Council statement.
The implicit support of IBM shown by the R&D investment by the GCCC would be a welcome contrast to the negative coverage IBM has received in the Sunshine State in recent times.
In August Gold Coast City Mayor Ron Clarke endorsed a proposal to discontinue the council’s contract with IBM for the implementation of an SAP platform. Mr Clarke cited high ongoing support costs and the need to foster savings as the reason behind the move. In July 2010, IBM was issued with a ‘show cause notice’ by the Bligh Government for its role in the implementation of the troubled Queensland Health payroll system.