5 things you need to know in Australian tech today

Freelancer CEO Matt Barrie. Image: Supplied.

Welcome to the end of the week, this is what you need to know in tech.

1. China and UNSW are building a new $100m innovation precinct. The Sydney precinct is part of the Chinese Torch program, which has been responsible for around 150 similar innovation precincts in China.

The innovation hubs of business, university and research groups account for around 7% of China’s GDP and 16% of export value. Deloitte estimates the UNSW Torch precinct will add $1 billion to Australia’s GDP over its first 10 years.

2. Fishburners is hugely expanding. Sydney’s Fishburners startup hub is set to quadruple in size after nabbing a new site in the city’s CBD after a two-year search. Currently Fishburners houses 290 people working in over 170 startups inside its building in Ultimo, but it plans to move all of those, plus more to the new undisclosed building in October.

Fishburners also announced a new board this week which will be split up into two halves. Each half will have four people on it, with one featuring industry leaders, while the other will be for the community and be made up of Fishburners members and alumni.

3. There are more old phones in Australia than people. As the trend to get a new phone every year rises in Australia, so does the number of old handsets in drawers across the country. It’s risen to a huge 25.5 million, with an estimated 4 million of those believed to not even work anymore.

Recycle your damn phone.

4. Matt Barrie says nobody from Silicon Valley wants to come and work in Australia. Speaking at the Knowledge Nation Summit in Sydney yesterday, Freelancer chief executive Matt Barrie said that those in Silicon Valley consider working in Sydney a “backwater”.

“Sydney will never be a technology hub if all the young people want to flee overseas,” he said, pointing some blame at Sydney’s lockout laws and the state government’s nightlife rules.

He added that Australia has “completely missed out” on the technology gold rush.

5. A ‘Hotties of Melbourne University’ Facebook page has divided the student community. More than 20,000 people have signed a Change.org petition calling on Facebook to remove a page called the “Hotties of Melbourne University”, which has divided opinion in the student community.

Laura Brandthorn created the petition Monday arguing the page promoted a rape culture.

The page is a forum where photos of Melbourne University students are posted where people then comment. Most of the time the images aren’t sent in with the photo subject’s permission.

Brandthorn has since received a mountain of support, but also some criticism from people who believe it is harmless campus fun.

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