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Friday, December 23, 2005

Intelligent Island's $33m kiss of life

The Mercury: Intelligent Island's $33m kiss of life [22dec05]

ASMANIA'S trouble-prone Intelligent Island program is getting another chance, with a decision being made about how to spend the remaining $33 million in funding.

The new plans include the development of a $30 million CSIRO Information Communications Technology Centre in Hobart and $18 million in grants to other local ICT businesses.

The Intelligent Island program was launched by the Federal Government in 2000, using $40 million raised from the part-sale of Telstra.

The cornerstone of the project was to be a bio-informatics centre but that project collapsed in April, following deadlocks in the negotiations.

Yesterday, Tasmanian Liberal senator Eric Abetz and state Economic Development Minister Lara Giddings jointly announced the new funding arrangements for the remaining $33 million.

The CSIRO will receive $15 million and match it with $15 million to create an ICT research centre in Hobart, which is expected to create 40 full-time positions.

The remaining $18 million will be allocated to assist Tasmanian ICT companies in development or marketing.

CSIRO's proposal for the ICT centre will be delivered in February next year and Ms Giddings said she did not expect there to be any problems with its approval.

Considering the program's past problems, both levels of government had moved as quickly as possible to get Intelligent Island back on track, said Senator Abetz.

Ms Giddings said she expected to receive the first round of funding applications in March next year.


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