Clusters to Drive Key Industries

During the week, starting 27th November, Northern Tasmania Development Corporation Ltd (NTDC) and Cradle Coast Authority (CCA) hosted Cluster Navigators CEO, Ifor Ffowcs-Williams, in the North and North-West of Tasmania, who address and facilitated various industry based workshops focusing on the Food, Forestry and Health sectors.

Ifor is acknowledged as one of the most influential cluster practitioners in the world, with hands-on experience extending to over 50 countries, including as an advisor to The World Bank, EU, OECD, UNDP, international aid agencies and national and regional economic development agencies in six countries.

“Coopetition” and an “emphasis on teamwork and wisdom of the crowd” rather than silos were the key take away messages from Ifor Ffowxs Williams. These events are a step forward for Tasmania in Cluster Development opportunities to drive economic growth collaboratively, “it is not one mothership, it is a range of companies working together driven by industry” said Ifor. Synergies in each sector event were identified around supply chain, education and retaining and attracting talent to the region.

John Kirwan, Royal Flying Doctors Service Tasmania, lead discussions identifying potential health clusters around Sport Medicine, Rural health delivery (services & technology), functional foods and following UTAS’s lead on health parks concepts for disadvantaged communities.

The food sector is already seeing some great work in cluster development through Feremen Tasmania Group and Professor Roger Stanley from the Centre for Food Innovation at the University of Tasmania bringing the Microwave-Assisted Thermal Sterilisation machine to the state.

Forestry saw Martin Moroni of Private Forests Tasmania put collaboration into action with a promise to pave the way for a Cluster Manager in the forestry industry. There were interesting conversations around Tasmania’s hard wood manufacturing history, opportunities into the bio space arena and strategies to mature supply chains.

For Tasmania to be heard on the world stage, Ifor articulated that Tasmania “needs to blow their own trumpet” and “know what we are good at”. Examples of relatable clusters around the world are Grasse, Perfume Capital of the World and Glass Valley in Bresle, Northern France.

NTDC will be looking to continue to develop knowledge of Clusters as part of the Regional Economic Development Program (REDP) in alignment with the City Deal.