Shadow Minister for the Digital Economy Ed Husic was in the Hunter today with Paterson MP Meryl Swanson to visit local digital businesses that are proving to be great regional innovation ambassadors.


Mr Husic and Ms Swanson visited three fantastic Hunter businesses that prove innovators are driving regional economies: Hunter Drone Services, Obelisk Systems’ StarLab and Lockheed Martin Australia.


Hunter Drone Services is a business innovating in the field of photography, using drones to produce incredible pictures for the real estate and agricultural industries.


“This business, run by Jason Daszkewicz, is a great example of how we can use new technology and innovative thinking to expand business opportunities in regions like the Hunter Valley,” Mr Husic said.


“Innovation doesn’t always mean creating a new field, it means changing how we’ve done things in the past to make the most of the latest technology.”


Paterson MP Meryl Swanson said the Hunter had a proud tradition of a highly skilled and experienced workforce.


“It is vital to ensure these capabilities are maintained and that we stay connected to new technologies.”


At StarLab Andrea Antoniades is running an all-in-one STEM education platform that engages young people with coding and robotics.


In Williamtown, Lockheed Martin Australia shows the kind of well-paid, highly qualified positions that can be sustained through digital innovation in regional Australia.


“Helping the next generation prepare now for the jobs of the future is incredibly important,” Mr Husic said.


“That’s why a Labor government will fully fund the billions cut from our local schools, reverse the $600 million cut from TAFEs and backs STEM education – these are all crucial avenues for young people to get skills that will prepare them for long-term jobs in the future.”


Ms Swanson echoed this sentiment, saying that new technologies would present unimaginable opportunities and innovations.


“Hunter young people needed opportunities to upskill and be exposed to new technology,” Ms Swanson said.


“It is up to us, as leaders, to facilitate the interaction between young people and businesses.


While local businesses are doing the work, the same can’t be said of the Turnbull Government. Last year the Prime Minister said it was an exciting time to be an innovative Australian but there has been little support for entrepreneurs and innovators in the regions, like the Hunter Valley.


“It’s a pity the Turnbull Government has forgotten how important it is to support entrepreneurs – they’ve turned their back on innovation in Australia,” Mr Husic said.


“They seem to be going in the opposite direction to what areas like the Hunter Valley and Newcastle region need. In the 2017 Budget the Turnbull Government pulled the handbrake on regional incubator funding, they’ve cut billions from schools funding and slashed more than $600 million from TAFE.”