Negotiations held by Independent MP Andrew Wilkie have resulted in $50 million worth of research funding for the Tasmanian ICT Centre for the next five years.
The funding is made up of $20 million from the Federal Government, $20 million from CSIRO, $5 million from the Tasmanian Government and $5 million from industry. The funding round was kicked-off by the government investment decisions, reached after discussions with Wilkie.
"Tasmania is a 'living laboratory' of ideal size and scale to demonstrate technologies and to develop solutions with national and international potential," Innovation Minister Kim Carr said. "The ICT tools developed here, in collaboration with industry, will help improve our energy use, monitor our fish stocks, protect our oceans, develop our food production capacity and manage our water resources."
Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings said that given Tasmania's position as a first release site for the National Broadband Network (NBN), the Tasmanian ICT Centre would be ideal for a new node for the Australian Centre for Broadband Innovation.
"Tasmania is perfectly placed, as a test-bed for the National Broadband Network, to host research that will enhance existing industries such as agriculture and fisheries while also paving the way for the digital industries of the future," she said. "Tasmania's future lies in innovation and technologies that will help to bridge the gap between our small island state and the rest of the world."
The centre was first established in September 2006 as part of a joint $30 million investment between CSIRO and the Federal Government, with AU$15 million of funding from the Tasmanian government's Intelligent Island program.
The news comes as the government has agreed to Wilkie's demands surrounding mandatory pre-commitment smart card technology for poker machines. Legislation will soon be introduced into parliament that will require all poker machines from 2014 to be fitted so that only gamblers using cards with a preset spending limit can place a bet. Wilkie has said that his support for the Labor Government in the hung parliament rests on the passage of this legislation.