Innovating a new future for Dorset

Article image - Innovating a new future for Dorset Wendy Mitchell (Developement Serivces Manager) and Mayor Barry Jarvis. Photo supplied by North-Eastern Advertiser.

Innovating a new future for Dorset

Wendy Mitchell (Developement Serivces Manager) and Mayor Barry Jarvis. Photo supplied by North-Eastern Advertiser.

Following the closure of the local forestry industry and the loss of much of the region's industrial scale food processing capacity, Dorset Council in North-East Tasmania is attempting to renew its community level business and enterprise culture.

Dorset's population of less than 8000 is in shock after the loss of nearly 1000 forestry and manufacturing jobs over the past five years.

Council's Development Services Manager Wendy Mitchell says North-East Tasmania faces the challenge of reinventing itself as a more confident and outward looking community geared to emerging global markets.

"In close consultation with community and local business via a State Government regional working group, we are promoting the concept of a regional entrepreneurship and business innovation centre as a key tool in economic revitalisation.

"The centre has a clear objective, to identify and nurture new and emerging food technology and other manufacturing businesses via the provision of financial, product development and marketing services."

The centre will provide a commercial kitchen, cool rooms and freezer rooms, a conference centre, office and space for light manufacturing.

Half of the funding for the $2.8 million project will come from Council, the UTAS Centre for Regional Development, and in-kind contributions from local designer CB&M and Simplot, who donated the building that will house the centre.

It is hoped the other half will be funded by the Federal Government's Regional Development Program.

Council has also formed strategic alliances with the neighbouring Defence Science and Technology Organisation, which is undertaking a $18 million expansion of its Scottsdale facility, and the UTAS Centre for Food Innovation.

"These organisations see an exciting future for state-of-the-art food production and manufacturing in our region," says Ms Mitchell, who is passionate about this vision for Dorset.

"They have detailed plans for up to 200 students from China and other countries to study food innovation locally and the potential synergies with our project are enormous.

"The fitting together of the different pieces will create a precinct based on innovation and creativity in a sector that is underpinned by emerging investment in irrigation infrastructure.

"It will see the emergence of a local economy geared to the future, rather than one desperately trying to hang on to the past."

For further information contact Dorset Council Development Services Manager Wendy Mitchell on (03) 6352 6527.