Report highlights state growth opportunities

FUTURE economic growth in Tasmania could be driven by industries such as agribusiness, tourism and ocean resources, according to a new report by financial services company Deloitte.

Carl Harris, the Tasmania managing partner of Deloitte, said research by his company had highlighted some strong potential growth opportunities for the state. 

``We have an opportunity to position ourselves as leaders in sectors that play to our strengths, such as tourism, agribusiness and ocean resources, as well as finding big business opportunities in industries associated with caring for older people,'' Mr Harris said.

The Deloitte report Positioning for Prosperity? Catching the Next Wave, was released today and is the third in a national  series produced by the company.

``With more coastline than New South Wales and Victoria combined, our state is already a leading producer of rock lobster, abalone, oysters, and of course our dynamic salmon industry has been growing at close to a million dollars a week over the past two years. 

``If managed well and sustainably, our fishery industries will stand the state in good stead as world markets demand more of the high value food products in which this state specialises.

``An extension to this may also be in the downstream processing of Tasmania's high value aquaculture products. Asia values Australia's food safety standards and some markets are willing to pay a premium for quality products that are processed on Australian shores.'' 

However, Mr Harris said that some key regulatory barriers needed to be addressed to access these  opportunities.

``Yet all this just scratches the surface.  There will also be other new opportunities emerging in the world's oceans, from harnessing the power of wind and waves to generate electricity, to farming the sea floor itself.''

Tasmania is well placed to take advantage of this new economic potential, he said.

Other `hotspots' for Tasmania were education, ICT and aged care.

``ICT is also a key enabler of the coming export surge, and will play a crucial role in transforming the Australian economy over the next 20 years.  

``ICT will remain the gateway to the economy of the future, and Tasmania could play an important role in this critical sector.''

Rising life expectancies, rising relative health care costs and tightening public sector health budgets are also seen as growth areas.

``This group presents big commercial opportunities, both nationally and for Tasmania.

``Tasmania has a history of attracting retirees from across the country. 

``While an ageing population is a growth challenge for the state (because it means fewer workers),  the coming surge in both the number and the wealth of older Australians is a key opportunity for the state.

``This will see a number of hotspots leading the pack in terms of state sectoral growth, such as residential aged care, retirement living and leisure, community and personal care, and preventative health and wellness,'' Mr Harris said.

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