Like-minded people making a difference

WE MAY be an island state separated only by Bass Strait to the rest of our larger Australian island, however, do not be fooled by our size.

Humbling to our hearts is the response from community leaders to everyday people, to lend a hand big or small and this should make us proud.

Especially as the generosity becomes more abundant in a time when our state has faced a massive punch to the economy and devastation from natural disasters such as the recent bushfires.

As a young Tasmanian woman I am proud to call the Apple Isle home. A particular concern and challenge I see for our future youth leaders is the grass-is- greener syndrome raising its ugly head. The end of 2012 sees many of our nurtured and potential rising stars looking to better themselves on broader horizons as they embark to make a mark in the big smoke.

Understandably many of our locals travel to universities or for the ever-popular gap year.

Whilst I am one to encourage change in an adapting world, my vision is for our youth not to be lost in social media and lose common social skills. The importance of technologies in our competitive climate I do recognise, however, we all find ourselves merely checking our Facebook numerous times to see what exciting or mere ridiculous things our so-called friends are up to.

As if it didn't happen unless Facebook said it did.

There are strengths that need to be taken with all the new technology, including the National Broadband Network roll- out here in our own backyard. This will make doing work, business and play from here more accessible through these avenues. Encouraging our talent to return home after travel, study or whatever the reason will be paramount to drive this state forward. The alternative is to be left with an ageing population and fall further behind the other states. Then see how successful federal funding will be.

Too often I am asked why am I still here in Tasmania? This asked in a tone as if it is a disadvantage or failure that I have not moved to the mainland, as us locals refer to it. I reply - `because Tassie is an amazing state with a great mix of people who are like-minded and wanting to make a difference'. In our community you are not just a number.

The housing market is the still very affordable, as the median house price in Launceston sits at about $310,000 and Hobart $365,000. I can leave for work 10 minutes before I need to start and never fear having traffic being backed up on a freeway as we do not need one. I can pop down to the local IGA or farmers market for the freshest produce to rival a five-star deli anywhere in the country.

Not only are we the lucky state, it allows us to spend more time with our families and loved ones, instead of driving hours or spending hours on trains and trams. Travel is a big part of my life, we have an airport and can go to Melbourne quicker than a drive to Hobart.

The feasibility of doing business using technology advances in the state presents endless possibilities for our state, as remember, Facebook could have started anywhere. It is fundamental to our quality of life to welcome key new concepts to be launched right here with our resources.

I would like to see our educational retention rates in school on the increase and come above our rival states in the future. Less anti-social behaviour and social welfare pressure on the state's budget would also help to improve the state's socio-economic status.

With the tourism potential in Tasmania, we should encourage more overseas dollars to be injected into the economy to propel small businesses and the hospitality industries out of the red, as they are the backbone of this state. More emphasis on and funding for small business is needed as well as plenty of encouragement for new business.

I would hope for new government legislation and reform to uplift the state financial sector into a steady incline and more funds to be fed to our education and health sectors.

We need ongoing development and encouragement for investors to come to Tasmania, and not for them to be held up by bureaucracy and an anti-development attitude.

A prosperous economy and a thriving community spirit are at the heart of our state. We need to encourage our talent to make a life here and raise families in a positive climate and be proud to call Tasmania our home.

•Lisa Tedeschi is a Northern Tasmanian entrepreneur with three small businesses in Tasmania: Sebachi Clothing, Mint Relax Revive Salon and founder of Mineral X Factor Cosmetics.

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