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Tuesday, 11 October 2016
Page: 1543

Senator POLLEY (Tasmania) (20:09): I rise tonight to speak about the issue of economic development in my home state of Tasmania in the area of information technology, in particular, to outline the successful story of Definium Technologies. Definium Technologies is a Launceston-based company that continues to represent Tasmania on the world stage and is going from strength to strength.

Over the last 12 months I have been tracking the success of the technology company known as Definium Technologies. Definium Technologies designs, manufactures and programs custom devices and technological solutions to help industry and academics save resources and work smarter. The company is a proudly Australian-owned, Tasmania-based technology solutions provider and specialist hardware producer that is exporting its expertise and products globally.

With proven hardware and software development capabilities, it is a versatile company. I recently visited the factory, which has just taken ownership of its latest 6,000 kilogram piece of hardware, which can produce up to 1,000 electronic boards on a very sophisticated assembly line. This piece of highly advanced equipment represents just one of three machines in Australia—and the only one in Tasmania. It is a truly exciting time.

The trajectory of this company continues to excite and inspire me about what my great state has the capacity to do now and into the future. The company has had much success, in particular in the production of state-of-the art electronic power boards used in a number of applications, including sensors which monitor temperature and other forms of measurement in the production of food and water resources.

The company, headed up by its managing director, Mike Cruse, is working with a passionate team and is diversifying the company, which is now specialising in research and development, contract manufacturing, systems integration and educational outreach. But just on Mr Cruse himself: he had the vision, the passion and the creativity to take the risk to move out of his garage. He relocated back from the United States, settled again in Launceston in Tasmania, started working on his vision in his garage, took the gamble, got himself a premises—and history has now been written for the first 12 months.

Already, Definium has partnered with the University of Tasmania. The sky really is the limit for young people who are focused on technology. Jobs growth in this area is a certainty. I have just come from a function with the University of Tasmania. We have had the vice-chancellor and Professor Brigid Heywood here. She has confirmed that that partnership between Definium Technologies and the university has now been signed.

I must say Professor Heywood's enthusiasm can only be matched by my own, because we are both very excited about the prospects. She described Mike Cruse as the pinup boy of technology in Tasmania. We are very proud of this company. We are very proud of the innovation. We are very proud that this has now become an icon for what else can be achieved in our home city.

Last Friday, I was at the opening in Launceston of Enterprize, which is headed up by James Riggall from Bitlink. It is a pop-up innovation hub that is bringing together information technology and software entrepreneurs, and Definium was displaying some of its applications there. It was very exciting to be introduced to Wayne Turner, who is based in the US and who is also partnering with Definium in the development of sensors for crop solutions to ensure more efficient farming techniques, in particular for prawn farming.

Definium already has a proud record of problem solving and creating more opportunities for businesses and communities. The electronic board sensors developed by Mr Cruse are not only being used for local applications, such as pumping stations at a dairy farm in Bridport. The technological expertise of the company has allowed for the exporting of their product to other parts of the world, including Bangladesh, the United States and the UK, ensuring food security for locals.

Recently, I also had the pleasure of meeting with Verne Mackey, Managing Director of Aerus Technologies, which is also looking to partner with Definium Technologies. This company is looking to create fit-for-purpose applications for the health and aged-care sectors. It is also based in Tasmania. This is really exciting. This is a company that we can use as an icon to attract other bright, like-minded, creative people to our city. What it is saying to the broader community is: you can do it in Tasmania. The tyranny of distance has no bearing when we are looking at technology and what can be achieved with some vision and, of course, with support.

Not only will these applications—which, as I said, are being looked at and developed by Aerus Technologies and Definium Technologies—allow for better patient care and better efficiency in the delivery of services. The applications will allow for tailored health treatment for individual patients and residents. One application described to me included a software system which will ensure the monitoring of people from their homes and a messaging system. If you live in a remote area and cannot access a medical professional, it can take place from your home through the use of many types of technology, including the monitoring of blood pressure, which is sent directly to your doctor. Systems which allow for tailor-made health care is the future. It will allow for better health outcomes to ensure that people receive the health care that they deserve. Individual choice is key to the delivery of health and aged-care services of the future.

The digital revolution in Australia is here. It is here now. The opportunities it presents are boundless. Definium Technologies is a beacon for opportunities when it comes to IT in my home state of Tasmania. It is looking to expand its operations into the future and employ another 10 to 12 people. The exciting thing, in addition to this, is the partnership that has now been entered into with the University of Tasmania. It means that the opportunities for young Tasmanians and for those students who are choosing to come and study in Tasmania are also boundless. Definium is just one company in my home state with a wonderful story to tell. It is a story of triumph through vision, creativity, hard work and entrepreneurship. It truly is an exciting time to work, live and create in Tasmania. I am extremely optimistic for the future. This is a testament to what can be achieved. As I said, the opportunities are clearly boundless in the age of innovation and technology.

I have to give credit to Mike Cruse for the fact that he is ready to be a mentor to other creative, innovative young people and people who have ideas. Irrespective of whether they are young, old or middle aged, he is there. He is demonstrating what can be achieved at a time when, sometimes, we can lose sight of what can be achieved if we just think of things in the way that I think we should think of life—that is, the glass is always half full. Tasmania is a small state in Australia. We have a small university compared to other campuses. But I believe the relationship between business and the university is the future of prosperity and a strong economy for the Tasmanian community, and is a doorway to a bright, prosperous future for all.