Industry backs city's push for digital hub

LAUNCESTON has the potential to be the home of a digital media hub, according to Telstra software developer Tony Oetterli.

Mr Oetterli, who heads up a team of 27 tech experts in Launceston developing everything from AFL and NFL apps and websites to BigPond Music and the T-Box, was speaking at the Catalyst Project forum yesterday.

The forum was organised by Greens senator Peter Whish- Wilson and was the idea of film- maker and educator John Swindells.

Senator Whish-Wilson wants to see Launceston's Macquarie House transformed into a new digital media hub.

Speakers at the forum, attended by about 60 industry, local and federal government, education and community members, included Launceston City Council Deputy Mayor Jeremy Ball and tech entrepreneur and Crucible Australia director James Riggall along with Mr Swindells.

Although the hub is still in the developmental stages, Mr Oetterli said there was no reason that it could not occur in Launceston with the roll-out of the National Broadband Network.

He said Telstra could work with those on the hub as mentors and for the delivery of platforms such as to get apps to market.

Mr Riggall said there was a growing number of freelance IT professionals in Launceston.

He said he was once one of the many young people prepared to leave the state to become a computer game designer but then came across the University of Tasmania's HITLab.

Mr Riggall said the hub had the potential to do the same for other young people in Launceston and the state by helping to develop their ideas, skills and marketability.

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