ICT Industry: Still Time For Tech Minister, Premier Rockliff

Statement from TasICT President David Mills 9.05.24

Tasmania’s tech sector says a dedicated technology minister is even more important to grow the digital economy following today’s announcement of a renewed STEM focus for the University of Tasmania campus.

TasICT President, David Mills, said the State Government was missing an opportunity to promote technology jobs, skills and training by not returning a Minister with a dedicated science and technology focus to Cabinet.

“We can see that the Parliament has not even reconvened and there are changes to the Cabinet with roles being further clarified and defined – that is a great opportunity to get it right.”

“It is not too late to recognise that Science, Technology, and STEM education, skills and training are fundamentally important to the future economy of Tasmania.”

Minister Madeleine Ogilvie has today been given the task of overseeing the future of the UTAS campus at Sandy Bay, and also to update the business case to pursue a Commonwealth investment of $500 million into revamped STEM facilities at Sandy Bay.

“As the peak body for the tech sector, TasICT looks forward to the opportunity to work closely with Minister Ogilvie and UTAS, to provide industry input and support with seeking Commonwealth investment.”

“It makes sense to give added impact to the task by re-instating a Minister for Science and Technology within the Tasmanian Government to help achieve this.”

The Tasmanian ICT industry was left shocked when a Science and Technology Minister was left out of the new Cabinet and has asked Premier Rockliff to urgently reconsider.

Minister Ogilvie herself today says the Government understands the importance of the science and ICT sectors, and that they offer ‘great potential for economic growth, together with global work opportunities, and that ICT leadership is essential to bridge the digital divide for all Tasmanians.’”

Mr Mills said to be taken seriously across Australia and in dealing with the Australian government, the Tasmanian Government needed to show its ICT credentials through a dedicated Science and Technology Minister.

“To not have a dedicated government focus through a Minister lets down the next generation of tech job seekers and sends a message to existing and potential ICT businesses that Tasmania is not interested in supporting them.”