While he acknowledged Australia can't expect to have a monopoly on creative digital content, and that some imports would continue, he believed the deficit could be reduced if local companies had access to more skills which would allow them to develop and export more.
He said it was necessary to have a combination of longer term educational strategies so that TAFEs and universities were turning out high quality graduates, plus short top-up courses so that graduates could keep up to date with the fast moving technology platforms targeted by the creative digital industries.
'The real issue is the volatility of the industry - you need an agile response to that,' said Professor Hearn.
One local company presently reaping the whirlwind of volatility is Brisbane based Half Brick Studios, the indie developer behind the runaway success Fruit Ninja for iPads and iPhones. According to Rinal Deo, the company's HR and finance manager, although the company is on the lookout for more high quality designers and coders to add to its existing team of 36 people, the skills crisis has not yet affected it 'To the extent that we are in dire straits.'
'We have a good local pool from Qantm College and the local universities,' said Deo adding that Brisbane along with Melbourne were probably the gaming and creative hubs of Australia. Qantm College, which kicked off its third semester today, has three campuses in Australia which deliver digital media courses.