19 March 2018

AIE's bid to redevelop Canberra Technology Park site deserves support

| Robyn Hendry
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25% of Australian businesses are struggling to match digital business needs with adequately skilled employees.

25% of Australian businesses are struggling to match digital business needs with adequately skilled employees.

Australia’s digital economy is forecast to be worth $139 billion and will account for over 7% of GDP by 2020 – bigger than traditional industry sectors such as agriculture, retail and transport – but a lack of skilled workers could derail it.

Without an expansion of training and educational facilities, the ACT’s reputation as a centre for digital thinking and innovation, as identified in the ACT Government’s own Digital Strategy, could be put at risk.

The ACT’s active community of start-ups, businesses and research and tertiary institutions has been internationally recognised, with exports of computer and information services from the ACT increasing by 25% between 2015-16 and 2016-17.

Our innovators are not merely putting the ACT on the map, they are creating a strong and diversified local economy that will flourish in the increasingly digital world we live in.

However, the Australian Digital Skills and Salary Survey reveals that 25% of Australian businesses are struggling to match digital business needs with adequately skilled employees.

The Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE) is at the forefront of Canberra’s training and education facilities that are playing a key role in ensuring the ACT continues to have access to highly skilled professionals.

AIE is helping to keep the ACT on the cutting edge by developing and attracting a skilled workforce, and wants to acquire the Watson site where it has been a tenant for the past 20 years and upgrade its facilities, including student accommodation.

Australia’s most awarded 3D animation, game design and visual FX educator, this exceptionally well-regarded institution retains our local talent and attracts the best and brightest to Canberra, where many may stay on, bringing their skills to local companies or increasing local employment by starting their own business.

The plans AIE have for its Canberra campus are designed to make it an even more attractive location for Australia’s digital workforce to obtain their skills.

However, its future is not yet certain, with the ACT Government currently considering options for the site through a public consultation process on the future of the Canberra Technology Park site.

While Canberra Business Chamber supports the ACT Government’s commitment to ensuring land use aligns with community interests, the benefits for Canberra of the AIE campus remaining a digital skills and job creation hub are immense and cannot be ignored.

It would be a major blow to the ACT’s aspirations and potential as a digital hub if AIE was not supported in its bid to stay in Canberra and build a creative precinct that will draw businesses, students and a skilled workforce to the Territory.

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Hi, It would be good to have this centre retained for the ACT’s very creative and dynamic digital innovators. This is only a part of the story. The hall facility is also used by other community groups, such as the Canberra City Band and its attendant ensembles, so it would be ideal if some of that space could be retained for other community performance and meeting uses.

Make it part of school courses and give AIE the funds to setup a decent shop.

It’s an old school site slap bang in the middle of residential housing. Student accommodation is not welcome. Take it elsewhere.

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