Future of traditional industries lies in innovation Thu 31 May 2012 Lara Giddings Premier Digital innovation holds the key to ensuring that traditional industries like forestry, fishing and agriculture continue to be major drivers of Tasmania's economic future, the Premier, Lara Giddings, said today. Ms Giddings opened the 5 Days of Innovation Festival Great Debate which poses the question "Can the digital future save the current economy?" Ms Giddings said while a transition was occurring in traditional industries, it was wrong to suggest that they are being superseded or replaced by modern technology. "The real debate for Tasmania is how to harness technological innovation to give our traditional industries a long term future with more productive plant and equipment and a higher skilled workforce," Ms Giddings said. "New technologies are here to replace old technologies - not to replace old industries. "Too often people confuse technological innovation with the ICT industries, when in fact it is a productivity tool for every business in every industry across entire economy." Ms Giddings used the National Broadband Network as an example of technological innovation that would not replace old industries, but compliment them in the future. "The NBN is a platform for innovation and it is as relevant as much, if not more so, to Tasmania's traditional industries than anywhere else. "Much like industrial advancements like electricity, railroads, bridges and mechanised production, the NBN has the capacity to breathe life into traditional industries and spur infant industries that no one thought possible." Ms Giddings said the State Government is committed to fostering innovation within existing industries. Funding from the Tasmanian Forests Agreement is helping to foster innovation such as the SenseT network - a world-first that collects data from thousands of sensors across the state for use in across a range of industries. "Of course, we also need business people and investors to embrace innovation and I congratulate Darren Alexander for establishing this 5 Days of Innovation Festival as a celebration of ideas. "There is no better time to innovate than now. Times are tough, but this is when new ideas thrive."