Committee hears how to lure businesses to the region

Launceston Chamber of Commerce chief executive Neil Grose.
Launceston Chamber of Commerce chief executive Neil Grose.

How the government can assist businesses in relocating from the mainland to Tasmania has been questioned at a regional development and decentralisation inquiry.

The House Select Committee on Regional Development and Decentralisation was held in Launceston on Tuesday and Burnie on Wednesday.

Led by Queensland Liberal Member John McVeigh, the committee was focused on the city’s dealings with the federal government and potential shifting of government departments from Canberra.

Chamber president Tim Holder told the committee “we are a truly blessed regional city”.

“For the first time in a long time, at least, this is a real effort for the three tiers of government to work together around some common economic and social values,” he said of the City Deal. 

The committee also questioned the role of the federal government in luring businesses away from capital cities to the regions.

After appearing at the inquiry, Launceston Chamber of Commerce chief executive Neil Grose offered suggestions for facilitating such moves.

“The fundamental role of government in attracting business to a regional centre like Launceston is to create a better business climate,” he said.

“This can range from region-specific tax regulation to appropriate infrastructure development such as transport links through air, rail and road and high-speed internet.

“Government has a role to play in creating a business-friendly environment, but ultimately business will develop when markets and margins make it viable”.

Mr Grose spruiked the benefits of the region and said the city was well-placed to grow its private sector.

“Launceston is a fantastic place for business and government agencies to consider relocating due to its great lifestyle, close proximity to the capital cities via air and the fastest communication infrastructure in the country,” he said. 

“Launceston has always demonstrated its capability to adapt and adopt new ways of doing things and is perfectly placed for business and government agency relocation.”