Competitive Business Clusters – how they work

Clusters are known to accelerate innovation, industry growth and regional development, but how are they made and what makes them successful? At this action learning exchange event, leaders of recognised business clusters from regional Australia will share lessons learnt, new ideas and aspirations for cluster development.


For leaders of recognised business clusters from regional areas in Tasmania and across Australia to share lessons learnt, new ideas and future aspirations for cluster development.


To deepen the collective understanding of clusters/networks and cluster development and promote the concepts of cluster theory to key stakeholders in the region.

Target audience

Individuals and organisations involved in the manufacturing sector, and other ‘pillar’ industries (eg. food & agribusiness, tourism, health, etc), which the manufacturing industry supports, regional development (eg. state, local government, policy makers, etc), enterprise and government.

While the program will be principally targeted to a Tasmanian audience, it is expected that the event will attract participants from around Australia.


There is growing interest at a local and national level in revisiting cluster development programs in light of lessons learnt from programs delivered in Australia in the past. In 2012, research into the future of manufacturing recommended developing policy tools around cluster initiatives to promote innovation and derive a group sustainable competitive advantage from shared resources within a regional area. The work that Dr Anton Kriz has been doing in the north and north-west of Tasmania is raising the awareness of local industry leaders of the need for collaboration to promote innovation.

Collaboration to innovate is a core principle behind Business Action Learning Tasmania. In 2016, BALT representatives interviewed leaders of established business clusters in regional areas to learn more about their experiences. The opportunity to compare and contrast the different approaches was invaluable. Given that there are numerous other cluster initiatives underway or being contemplated in Tasmania and other states, BALT believes a broader audience would benefit from these insights. To that end, BALT has organised this forum to showcase the various approaches to cluster formation and operation and share the learnings of working clusters.

Event format

The event will be a full day with registration from 8.30am and formal proceedings starting at 9.00am. The program will finish at 5pm with networking drinks until 6pm followed by an informal networking dinner.


Tasmanian Department of State Growth

Pacific Aluminium Bell Bay

Tasmanian Manufacturers Association

Guest speakers

The Hon. Sarah Courtney, MP

Karen Rees, The Polar Network (Tas)

Frank Sammut, Central Coast Industry Connect (NSW)

Tony Cade, HunterNet (NSW)

Tony Green, i3Net (NSW)

Trish Wilson, CICE (NZ)

Adrienne Rourke, Resource Industry Network (Qld)

Dr Anton Kriz, University of Newcastle (NSW)

Kerryn Smith, Defence Teaming Centre (SA)

Greg Clothier, Global Maintenance Upper Spencer Gulf (SA)

Mark Bell, Riverland SmartHub (SA)

For more information and to register visit:

About Business Action Learning Tasmania

Formed in 2010, the BALT Coordinating Team includes representatives from industry (Bell Bay Aluminium, Orora Fibre Packaging, CPT Engineering, Petuna), professional consultants (Excellent Outcomes, Just Lean Associates), education (The Action Learning Institute) and government (Skills Tasmania).

BALT’s mission is to support self-reliant industry development, with diverse companies cooperating to improve their profitability, develop their people and grow the Tasmanian economy. This mission is built on three pillars; collaborative action learning, achieving important business outcomes, and the awarding of nationally recognised qualifications.

The group seeks to achieve this through running programs to implement real business improvement projects with groups of local companies. The 20th BALT project recently commenced involving participants from Bell Bay Aluminium, Cement Australia and TasRail. Case studies are available at