Thursday 27 October 2011

Hansard of the Legislative Council



Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - As we know there are some things that can be done very well in Tasmania. I would like to tell the members today about the success of the Screen and Media course at the Polytechnic, which is the former TAFE, in Launceston.

What is happening there ties in with the success of recent feature films in Tasmania like The Hunter, which is now showing around the world. It is working wonders for Tasmania's image and it will have an inestimable influence on tourism particularly.

It is based on a novel by Julia Leigh, and the film is mainly set in the member for Western Tiers' electorate, in the Meander Valley itself. It was filmed there because that is where the novel is set, Madam President.

Mr Hall - The best bit of country in Tasmania.

Mr FINCH - The best country in Tasmania?

Mr Hall - Yes.

Mr FINCH - Second best I am sorry.

Ms Rattray - Third best.

Madam PRESIDENT - You are losing time.

Mr FINCH - We are digressing. Tasmania, of course, has tremendous scenery in everybody's electorates for feature films. It is also a relatively cheap place to make a film. There are two factors which help put Tasmania on the feature film map. An element would be a pool of technical and production talent, and that is one area where the Polytechnic Screen and Media course could fit in.

The courses are generating some very dynamic, qualified and professional digital content makers. Madam President, digital media is of course a twenty-first century phenomenon, which offers considerable opportunity for Tasmania's future. We are in the process of seeing the rollout of the NBN but nothing substantial is being done to prepare Tasmanians for these opportunities. Digital media content creation includes traditional film and TV production, web content, trans-media, augmented reality, sound production, video games, iPhone applications, graphic design and multi-media.

The opportunities, Madam President, are truly global, and it is quite viable for people in Tasmania to be creating content for distribution broadcast and for corporate clients anywhere in the world. With super-fast broadband, coupled with a wonderful place to live and work, the opportunities for Tasmania are substantial but we need to be actively preparing for this opportunity.

A re-branded school of digital media incorporating the current Screen and Media and Multimedia courses would capitalise on the already substantial work being done at the Polytechnic in Launceston. While enabling the courses to have some more space, and a modest amount of new equipment, the school could be operational in time for next year's intake. It is vitally important to offer this training at a tertiary level in order to teach students to comply with the appropriate industry work practice and culture, the standard of production values and a collaborative approach to work.

The renaming of the school will create a more attractive and contemporary image, which is more in line with the digital opportunities that are available to young Tasmanians and re-emphasise the strategic importance of the broadband rollout.

This would encourage young Tasmanians, of course, to stay in Tasmania. We talk about that so often, and this would enable them to pursue their dreams rather than flee to mainland tertiary institutions. Some will go but some will stay.

Madam President, it is hard to put a dollar figure on the opportunity for young Tasmanians by taking this initiative but this is a dynamic, growing industry, which can possibly thrive in Tasmania. It is time we tried a few things other than the tired and relatively unsuccessful approaches to creating opportunities for Tasmanian youth. Let us put some resources into things that can do well and it is the way our State can thrive.