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Tasmania’s Stories

Lonnie takes 'smart city' lead

Edition 191_Campus

Launceston grabbed national leadership as a smart city, received a Federal funding go-ahead for its Inveresk campus project and successfully hosted its first Mona Foma festival in a hectic first month of 2018.

Tasmania's so-called "northern capital" was buzzing.

The city will take a serious leap into the future with the roll out of a $3.6 million ICT collaboration involving Telstra, UTAS, State and Federal governments and the Launceston, Meander ValleyWest Tamar and George Town councils.

The Greater Launceston Transformation Project will use the latest connective technology and 3D-modelling tools to transform city-planning processes, deliver better educational outcomes and develop a co-designed innovation hub.

The project aims to make the region a fully connected, tech-ready investment site.

Importantly, it makes Launceston a primary test bed for Telstra's emerging 5G technologies, positioning it as the nation’s leading smart city.

The city will access a Telstra NarrowBand IoT (Internet of Things) network, allowing everyday devices, as well as a growing range of home, commercial and industrial equipment, to be connected.

The network will allow businesses to better record and manage data.

The NB-IoT is one of the growing platforms for connecting with devices and appliances locally, be it parking bay sensors, vehicle tracking, agricultural equipment or simply for turning on an air conditioner or other home appliance remotely.

A new Technology and Innovation Centre of Excellence, established in partnership with Enterprize Launceston, will give the city one of the nation's five Telstra Customer Insight Centres.

Among capabilities this will support are:

  • A Tasmanian Agritech Start-up Accelerator Program which will focus on improving the efficiency and productivity of agriculture by connecting local weather stations, moisture measuring and soil monitoring for farmers;
  • A flagship technology approach for Macquarie House which will become a multi-use space for business collaboration and events;
  • The Tasmanian rollout of Telstra Energy and Telstra Health platforms, as well as the development of other new products and technologies.

Telstra will provide $20,000 in sponsorship for activities and events that support the development of new products and technologies and Telstra staff will provide an hour a month to mentor and support Tasmanian IT and innovation businesses.

Telstra Enterprise Mobility Director, Brian Hillier, told The Examiner: “What a smart city will do is ... generate a lot of data, which you can then analyse to help make good business decisions for your citizens and for the productivity of the regional city."

The State Minister for Information Technology, Michael Ferguson, said: “This is another step in the transformation of this city, Greater Launceston, and the nearby regional communities.

“There’s going to be a lot of innovation in this space, a lot of job opportunities will help businesses and people to be independent.”

Mr Ferguson said Launceston was now "well ahead of the pack".

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, visited the city in January to announce the pending transfer of $130 million for the UTAS project and to urge the university to get on with the job.

Launceston's Mayor, Albert van Zetten, said the cash release was a crucial step in a "once-in-a-generation project."

He said: “The benefits of bringing thousands of students into the CBD will help reinvigorate the city, with many flow-on effects for the northern economy from a $260 million project of this nature.

“It will have a massive, $1.1 billion economic direct and indirect output through the construction phase. [This project] seeks to fundamentally address the poor educational attainment levels northern Tasmania is currently burdened by.”

The national Minister for Education, Simon Birmingham, said Federal funds would be released to UTAS as performance payments as each stage of construction was entered.

“As we proceed now from the strategic business plan that the university lodged with Infrastructure Australia late last year, which we have now approved, we’ll get into the detail of which stages will be undertaken in which order,” he said.

A likely first step will be a pedestrian bridge at Willis Street.

Mr Turnbull told UTAS Acting Vice Chancellor, Mike Calford: “No pressure, but what you’ve got to do now is build it. We are looking forward to construction this year and completed by next year.”

Professor Calford responded: “As soon as possible. The sooner the better because it is a real priority for us.

"This is such an important City Deal for Launceston and for Tasmania and it is important to see more Tasmanians go through to higher education and associate degrees."

The relocation of UTAS’s main northern campus from Newnham to Inveresk is the centre-piece of a Launceston City Deal agreed on with the Australian Government, the State Government and Launceston City Council in April 2017.

The $260 million City Deal comprises $130 million from the Turnbull government, $64.6 million from the university, $60 million from the State Government and $5.4 million from the Launceston City Council.

Professor Calford said the campus move would turn Launceston into a university city, stimulating growth and jobs, strengthening local communities and lifting educational attainment.

The Australian Maritime College will remain at Newnham and a maritime technopark will be developed around it.

More State funding will be heading north if the people behind the Mona Foma music and arts festival get their way.

The zany event left Hobart for the first time in January and Launcestonians got into the spirit of things with their first "mini Mofo".

Events were well-attended and occupancy rates at local hotels were above 90 per cent.

Mofo organisers now want to move the whole event north and will be seeking $8 million in State funding over four years to support the exercise.

That negotiation will take place against a background of booming private development in Launceston, including the revival of the CH Smith complex in Charles Street; the redevelopment of the Kings Wharf grain silos to create the Silo Hotel; the revamp of Civic Square; and the second stage of the $5 million Rosevears Hotel redevelopment.

Significant money is also going into a Toll Transport freight hub, boutique accommodation units, a new hotel overlooking The Gorge; a private aged-care facility, Launceston Airport, the city's four McDonald's outlets, the moribund Star Theatre and a stretch of the Midland Highway south of the city.

As the good news rolled in, The Examiner editorialised: "Tasmania has always been a tremendous State and now it is proving to be in tremendous state. Let’s not let it slip."

Image courtesy of UTAS

8 February 2018, Edition 191

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Facts about Tasmania


Tasmania is the southernmost state of Australia, located at latitude 40° south and longitude 144° east and separated from the continent by Bass Strait. It is a group of 334 islands, with the main island being 315 km (180 miles) from west to east and 286 km (175 miles) north to south.


Tasmanians are resourceful and innovative people, committed to a continually expanding export sector. In 2012–13, international exports from the state totalled $3.04 billion. USA, China, Taiwan, India, Japan and other Asian countries account for the bulk of exports, with goods and services also exported to Europe and many other regions.


Tasmania is similar in size to the Republic of Ireland or Sri Lanka. The Tasmanian islands have a combined coastline of more than 3,000 km.


The main island has a land area of 62,409 sq km (24,096 sq miles) and the minor islands, taken together, total only 6 per cent of the main island’s land area. The biggest islands are Flinders (1,374 sq km/539 sq miles), King, Cape Barren, Bruny and Macquarie Islands.


About 250km (150 miles) separates Tasmania’s main island from continental Australia. The Kent Group of Islands, one of the most northerly parts of the state, is only 55km (34 miles) from the coast of the Australian continent.


Twice named ‘Best Temperate Island in the World’ by international travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler, Tasmania has a mild, temperate maritime climate, with four distinct seasons.


In summer (December to February) the average maximum temperature is 21° Celsius (70° Fahrenheit). In winter (June to August) the average maximum is 12° C (52° F) and the average minimum is 4° C (40° F). Snow often falls in the highlands, but is rarely experienced in more settled areas.

Annual Rainfall

Tasmania’s west coast is one of the wettest places in the world, but the eastern part of the State lives in a rain-shadow. Hobart, the second-driest capital city in Australia, receives about half as much rain as Sydney.

Annual Rainfall

Annual rainfall in the west is 2,400 mm (95 inches), but hardy locals insist there is no such thing as bad weather, only inadequate clothing. If you travel 120 km east to Hobart, you experience a much drier average of 626 mm (24 inches) a year.


The 512,875-strong community spreads itself across the land; less urbanised than the population of any other Australian state. Hobart, the capital city, is home to more than 212,000 people.

Capital City

Hobart nestles at the foot of kunanyi / Mount Wellington (1,270 m / 4,000 ft) and overlooks the Derwent Estuary, where pods of dolphins and migrating whales are sometimes seen from nearby beaches. Surrounded by thickly forested rolling hills, the city is home to the state parliament and the main campus of the University of Tasmania.

Capital City

Its historic centre features Georgian and Regency buildings from colonial times. Hobart is home port for coastal fishing boats, Antarctic expeditions and vessels that fish the Southern Ocean.

Land Formation

Mountain ranges in the south-west date back 1,000 million years. Ancient sediments were deeply buried, folded and heated under enormous pressure to form schists and glistening white quartzites.

Land Formation

In the south-west and central highlands, dolerite caps many mountains, including Precipitous Bluff and Tasmania’s highest peak, Mt Ossa (1617 m / 5300 ft). More than 42 per cent of Tasmania is World Heritage Area, national park and marine or forest reserves.


Vegetation is diverse, from alpine heathlands and tall open eucalypt forests to areas of temperate rainforests and moorlands, known as buttongrass plains. Many plants are unique to Tasmania and the ancestors of some species grew on the ancient super-continent, Gondwana, before it broke up 50 million years ago.


Unique native conifers include slow-growing Huon pines, with one specimen on Mt Read estimated to be up to 10,000 years old. Lomatia tasmanica, commonly known as King’s holly, is a self-cloning shrub that may well be the oldest living organism on earth. It was discovered in 1937.


Tasmania is the last refuge of several mammals that once roamed the Australian continent. It is the only place to see a Tasmanian devil or eastern quoll (native cat) in the wild and is the best place to see the spotted-tailed quoll (tiger cat), all carnivorous marsupials.


The eastern bettong and the Tasmanian pademelon, both now extinct on the Australian continent, may also be observed.


The Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, was Australia’s largest surviving carnivorous marsupial and is a modern day mystery. The last documented thylacine died in captivity in 1936 and although the animal is considered extinct, unsubstantiated sightings persist.

History and Heritage

Aboriginal people have lived in Tasmania for about 35,000 years, since well before the last Ice Age. They were isolated from the Australian continent about 12,000 years ago, when the seas rose to flood low coastal plains and form Bass Strait.

History and Heritage

Descendants of the original people are part of modern Tasmania’s predominantly Anglo-Celtic population.

History and Heritage

Tasmania was originally named Van Dieman’s Land by the Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman in 1642. The island was settled by the British as a penal colony in 1803 and the original name was associated with the convict era. It was changed to Tasmania when convict transportation stopped in 1853.


A resourceful island culture has generated leading-edge niche industries, from production of high-speed catamaran ferries and marine equipment to lightning-protection technology.


Tasmanians produce winches and windlasses for some of the world’s biggest ocean-going pleasure craft; large-scale inflatable evacuation systems and provide specialist outfit-accommodation services to the marine industry.


The Wooden Boat Centre at Shipwrights Point has re-established the skills and traditions of another age and attracts students from around the world.


Tasmania is a world leader in natural turf systems for major sporting arenas and in areas of mining technology and environmental management. Its aquaculture industry has developed ground-breaking fish-feeding technology and new packaging.


Tasmanians sell communications equipment to many navies and their world-class fine timber designers and craftsmen take orders internationally for furniture made from distinctive local timber.


The state is a natural larder with clean air, unpolluted water and rich soils inviting the production of 100 varieties of specialty cheeses, as well as other dairy products, mouth-watering rock lobsters, oysters, scallops and abalone, Atlantic salmon, beef, premium beers, leatherwood honey, mineral waters, fine chocolates, fresh berry fruits, apples and crisp vegetables.


Tasmania is a producer of award-winning cool-climate wines, beers, ciders and whiskies. Other export products include essential oils such as lavender, pharmaceutical products and premium wool sought after in Europe and Asia. Hobart is a vital gateway to the Antarctic and a centre for Southern Ocean and polar research.


The industries in Tasmania which made the greatest contribution to the State’s gross product in 2010–11 in volume terms were: Manufacturing (9.4%), Health care and social assistance (8.2%), Financial and insurance services (7.2%), Ownership of dwellings and Agriculture, forestry and fishing (each 7.1%).

Getting to Tasmania

Travel is easy, whether by air from Sydney or Melbourne, or by sea, with daily sailings of the twin ferries Spirit of Tasmania 1 and 2 each way between Melbourne and Devonport throughout the year.

This site has been produced by the Brand Tasmania Council © 2014

Brand Tasmania

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