'Intelligent Island' Tasmania gets ICT boost

The three year old Intelligent Island programme, designed to boost Tasmania's ICT industry, has been given a new lease of life with the launch of two projects worth more than AU$30 million. The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan announced two significant investments into Tasmania's ICT industry on Wednesday.

The three year old Intelligent Island programme, designed to boost Tasmania's ICT industry, has been given a new lease of life with the launch of two projects worth more than AU$30 million.

The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan announced two significant investments into Tasmania's ICT industry on Wednesday. The first is a cash injection of around AU$18 million to create the Market Access and Partnership Program (MAPP), which will help local companies enter new markets and build partnerships with local and international firms. The remaining money will be spent in conjunction with the Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organisation (CSIRO) to help build an ICT research centre.

"The Australian government is committed to the Intelligent Island program objective of a globally competitive ICT sector in Tasmania. The MAPP and CSIRO ICT Centre will help the Tasmanian ICT industry to achieve that objective," said Coonan in a statement.

A spokesperson for Senator Coonan told ZDNet Australia that the funding was left over from a failed Intelligent Island project that was initiated by the Senator's predecessor Richard Alston.

"There was AU$20 million that wasn't spent on the Tasmanian Informatics Centre and committed some time ago… this has now turned into AU$30 million. The Australian government was keen, in conjunction with the Tasmanian government, to reallocate the funds in a way that would not only benefit Tasmania but also Australia as a whole," the spokesperson said.

Dr Alex Zelinsky, director of the CSIRO ICT Centre, said that the CSIRO would invest an additional AU$15 million to help develop a research program that would help develop "new industries" on the island.

"We are looking forward to…developing a research program that will support the growth of new industries and deliver the enabling power of ICT to existing Tasmanian industries," said Dr Zelinsky in a statement.

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