By Michelle O’Byrne

A strategic, state-wide approach is needed in Tasmania to realise the full potential of the ICT sector to support economic growth and prosperity. Despite great progress globally, the ICT sector in Tasmania is relatively young and its potential to support every sector of the state economy is not being realised. Labor’s Industry Advisory Council on ICT recognises that collaboration is needed across the sector to reach that potential, along with an appropriate level of public sector investment.

ICT is not seen as ‘an industry’ in Tasmania in the way that tourism, aquaculture and other more mature sectors are. The success of those sectors didn’t just happen. They were nurtured in a partnership between government and the private sector, and that’s what’s needed for ICT too.

The Chair of the Industry Advisory Council, Project Lab’s Executive Director Joel Harris, said as Tasmania faces new problems, we need new tools, skills and knowledge.
“An important part of the value of the Industry Advisory Council has been to provide a place to share learnings and outcomes. We can all learn by listening to the stories of Tasmanians using technology investments to solve problems across all sectors of the state economy,” Mr Harris said.

“This understanding can bring insights to leaders to ensure investment of public money in technology will lead to a scalable and prosperous Tasmanian technology sector.”
What’s needed is a state-wide strategic plan for the sector to allow Tasmania to capitalise on the opportunities arising from the digital economy, both by benefiting from the application of existing and emerging technology, and through job creation. It’s an industry that employs around 7,000 Tasmanians and there is room for more growth, with the right support from Government.

ICT is a stand-alone sector, but it’s also an enabler for other sectors, and it needs to be kept at the forefront of Tasmania’s strategic direction and fundamental to a strong and growing economy.