Labor wants connection to a data cable

FUTURE: Labor has called on the state and federal government to commit to connecting Tasmania to the SubPartners Cable. Picture: File

FUTURE: Labor has called on the state and federal government to commit to connecting Tasmania to the SubPartners Cable. Picture: File

Labor has thrown its support behind a push to see Tasmania connected to an intercontinental data cable.

Senator Helen Polley became the latest politician to call for an investment to be made for the state’s technology future.

Earlier this month Independent Senator for Tasmania Jacqui Lambie called for the state government to invest in the cable. 

In April, six companies including Google and Telstra entered into an agreement with Alcatel Submarine Networks to build a new international cable system that will connect Singapore, Indonesia and Australia.  

The two cables cable, totalling almost 10,000 kilometres, will start in Singapore before heading south to Jakarta, Perth and through the Bass Strait to Sydney.

The state government is canvassing opportunities to see Tasmania involved in the project.

Senator Polley raised concerns about a lack of investment in the “prosperity-building project” after the federal and state budgets.

She said the government needed to “leverage Tasmania’s competitive advantage and to grow our IT sector”.

“Tasmania is currently experiencing a boom in tourism, the building and construction sector and retail sales, but these are short-term boom sectors and Tasmania has nothing to fall back on,” she said.

“Tasmania has an opportunity here to invest in the intercontinental data pipe, which means investing in local people, investing in education and investing in small business all at the same time.”

Minister for Innovation, Michael Ferguson hit back at the Labor figure’s comments.

“Senator Polley must be seriously out of touch because if she had spoken to those involved, she would know that we are already in discussions in relation to this project,” he said. 

“We have publicly stated on numerous occasions of our efforts to be properly informed on the possible opportunity this presents.”

The state’s peak information body, TasICT, believe Tasmania would benefit in several ways if it could be connected to the intercontinental marine cable. 

Chief executive Will Kestin said the SubPartners cable would provide an alternative to the Basslink and Telstra cables that span the Strait.

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