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Monday, 26 November 2012
Page: 13255

Mr LYONS (Bass) (22:06): I stand in the House today to once again highlight some of the great innovations in Bass. I am proud to say that the Gillard Labor government is supporting innovation in my state. We have done this by investing in our young people with the Building the Education Revolution, by rolling out the National Broadband Network, by supporting businesses and the arts and by investing heavily in irrigation schemes to revive our agricultural sector.

In an insert titled 'Island of inspiration: celebrating the individuals and organisations inspiring the Tasmania of today and tomorrow', which was distributed recently in Tasmania in the Examiner newspaper, Professor Jonathan West proclaimed, 'The key to innovation and prosperity in Tasmania lies in our natural resources, water, sunshine and land.' I could not agree more. People like Professor West see the great opportunities our state has to offer. The Examiner's Island of Inspiration supplement contained 68 pages of positive stories about inspiring Tasmanians achieving amazing things in their sector. This included articles on shipping simulators, on-road disability mobility scooters, innovations in aquaculture, agriculture, innovative website creators and much more. These businesses are harnessing the opportunities available to them, thinking outside the square to provide something a bit different to what else is already on the market.

The Gillard government is very committed to ensuring Australia's economy meets the challenges of the future and delivers prosperity for all Australians. Investing in economic infrastructure and improving the productivity and competitiveness of our industries will secure our economic future. We are working side by side with Australian industries to boost their productivity and competitiveness, and to build a culture of innovation.

In the 21st century, telecommunications has become an essential utility, like electricity or water. Australian families rely on it and Australian businesses need it. Without world-class broadband, Australia will fall behind the rest of the world, and our economy will suffer. Our businesses will not have the tools they need to compete with businesses around the world. The great challenge for Australia is to harness the wealth from the current resources boom to improve our productivity and diversify our economy. That is precisely why the Gillard government is investing in the NBN.

We need the NBN in Tasmania to secure our economic future. The NBN will launch a new wave of digital innovation that will change the way Australians live, do business, receive services and connect with the world. The NBN gives businesses unprecedented opportunities to connect, via high-speed broadband, to distant markets both in Australia and overseas. It means businesses will be able to work from anywhere. High download and upload speeds mean you can run bandwidth-hungry applications like high-definition videoconferencing and large file transfers, which at the moment are just a pipedream for regional businesses. That means more jobs outside our capital cities. The NBN will finally give our regions the ability to decentralise our economic and population bases.

For Australians who live and work outside our capital cities, hours of travelling can be avoided by getting online with the NBN. Tele-health services provided over the NBN can allow you to see a medical specialist from your local doctor's surgery or your home. Educational services online will mean your kids will have access to a world-class education, even if your family lives in the bush. It is truly fantastic to see it.

Tasmania will be the first Australian state to be fully covered by the NBN. Our state will be fully rolled out by the end of 2015, a full five years ahead of any other state. We have many innovative people in Tasmania who are seizing this opportunity. Ros Harvey, director of the SenseT project, which has been backed by the federal government and the Tasmanian state government, has said that the NBN is crucial to the work they are doing. Autech is another example of a Tasmanian company creating waves through innovation. Managing Director, Darren Alexander, is a key advocate of the NBN. Managing director of Pivot Maritime, Jeff Hawkins, an Australian Exporter of the Year, has said 'Tasmania is an ideas island.' I agree with him wholeheartedly, and I will continue to do all I can to support those in the community who make Tasmania a great place to live.