LIVING in Tasmania is a deliberate lifestyle choice.
There are those who have grown up here and chosen to live their life here and there are those who moved away for career and employment opportunities.
Sadly we have seen the brain drain occurring for many years and in more recent times the attraction of employment elsewhere at a time of declining opportunities here has seen a further exodus of many Tasmanians. Sure some come back, but not all.
Tasmania is a great place to live because of our people, our places and our natural beauty, from the beaches to the mountains. I have had opportunities to move away but have made a deliberate choice to stay.
We are blessed with an array of great restaurants and cafes and we have plenty of sporting and other cultural opportunities.
We enjoy four seasons and we seem to be less threatened by acts of Mother Nature, such as cyclones.
There is no easy fix to the prosperity of Tasmania - we are suffering from low population growth, over-influence of the Greens, a stagnant state economy and too much red tape.
The state suffers falling revenues together with rising costs and increasing community expectations in areas such as health, education and policing.
The demise of traditional industries, the continuing effects of the high Australian dollar for our exporters, costs of freight and transport, as well as the largest ratio of people reliant on the government purse are a few of the many challenges we face.
Around Australia it is tough in most businesses - even tougher if you are in Tasmania, particularly Northern Tasmania.
Small business is the lifeblood of the economy and they need a lot more support. On a Qantas flight, I was astounded to read on the butter label it was in fact a product of Denmark.
I am a believer in the independence of the Legislative Council and I believe we need a majority state government. There is a lot more pain ahead - whichever party wins the next election will be taking over very challenged state finances. It will be a tough gig.
We are over-governed with way too much red tape at local, state and federal levels. The state population is about the same as some Melbourne councils.
We need to amalgamate councils, possibly down to just three super councils.
We also need to urgently sort out the ongoing planning saga by making it simpler.
We need to support environmentally sustainable development that will add value to our state through construction and ongoing jobs. We have lost too many traditional industries that have not been replaced.
If our wilderness is so good and we are hell bent on preserving so much of it we need to make it more accessible, in key locations.
Selfishly as an MS sufferer with limited mobility, I would like to see more roads into these areas so all Tasmanians can enjoy ease of access to experience these areas.
The national highway proposal would make Tasmania much more accessible from a cost perspective and also assist our businesses with lower costs.
The $8000 boost for first home builders should also cover established houses. It should be $15,000 for all. The state government in its wisdom axed the stamp duty concession for first home buyers.
This was a short-sighted move. Buyer numbers have declined. We are the only state that charges stamp duty on first home buyers, with most states exempting up to $500,000 purchases. With more reasonable prices there should be no stamp duty charged for any first home purchases up to $350,000.
If our state is managed correctly we can prosper, but the silent majority needs to wake up and get involved in the future of our state, before we do end up as a big retirement village in a huge national park.
Peter Bushby has been a Launceston real estate agent for nearly 40 years.