A defence precinct to bridge the gap between research, education and training a future workforce is the vision for land adjacent to the Australian Maritime College.
A first for Tasmania, the precinct was the subject of discussion at an industry briefing workshop hosted by the University of Tasmania and the Australian Maritime College in Launceston on Thursday.
The workshop is one of several already held throughout the year, brought “defence prime” businesses from Tasmania and Australia to brainstorm ideas on how the proposed defence precinct would assist industry.
A business case to support the implementation of a defence precinct alongside the Australian Maritime College will be submitted to the federal government within the next month.
About 44 representatives from the defence prime organisations were present at the Tailrace, along with the team from UTAS and AMC.
UTAS deputy vice-chancellor Brigid Heywood said the precinct would be made possible through the move of UTAS from Newnham to Inveresk but was not dependent on it.
“We want to build on the rich experience that we already have in this area,” she said.
The proposed defence precinct would partner with business and industry, to help fill the needs of the sector.
“It will be like a beacon to show businesses there is a real opportunity with Tasmanian industries,” she said.
Australian Research College associate professor Jonathan Binns said there were already existing industries conducted at the AMC that a defence precinct could build on, such as simulation.
Simulation could expand from the maritime space and into health sciences, potentially building on work done at the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies to prepare people to go to the Antarctic, or preparing them to withstand extreme environments.
In addition, there is also the potential for the AMC to expand on its research on the development of modern submarines.
Professor Heywood said UTAS had conducted extensive research into what the defence precinct could look like, and had researched examples across the world, which may be adapted to suit Tasmania.
“We can’t take, for example, what Melbourne is doing and copy that, because we do not have the proximity to big cities or the population,” she said.
Places such as the alpine areas of Italy and France, as well as the precincts developed in the highlands of Scotland are some of the areas UTAS has researched to be similar to what is proposed in Tasmania.
If developed, the defence precinct could bring in an estimated 3500 extra students over 10 years.
The business case is expected to be reviewed by Defence Minister Christopher Pyne before any funding or approval is announced.
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