Think Tasmania, think quality

THINK of Italy and think fashion. Think of Scandinavia and think design. But what about Tasmania?

Amid great quantity, the world's consumers are searching for quality.

Tasmania may never be able to compete on quantity, but we can lead the world on quality.

We are developing a reputation in this area. But it's patchy.

I look forward to the day when the world sees quality as synonymous with Tasmania.

Quality in everything that happens here and is exported from here: education, healthcare, hospitality, design, manufacturing and the arts.

Aim for the stars and, as a politician once noted, you won't end up in the gutter.

How do we do it? Attitude.

The world needs to see a state attracting new businesses and new industry sectors that are fresh, innovative and exciting, and which themselves attract young professionals to the state.

Start by rejecting parochialism.

We're a small state that faces plenty of competition nationally and internationally, without the infighting that occurs too often between regions.

Let's take on the world. Not each other.

This is partly why the RACT became a strong supporter of AFL in Tasmania. Footy has statewide appeal and is part of every Tasmanian community.

It is a unifying force and will be even more so when Tasmania achieves its own AFL team.

We must also attract a larger population, although sustainability remains paramount.

We can do this by luring new and clever industries attuned to the 21st century - industries in design, medical technology, the arts and culture, IT, fashion, and education, for instance.

Broad-based industry growth is preferable to becoming defined and pigeon-holed by one or two large industries alone.

It's the mix of industries in our economy that will drive our flexibility.

We need to actively work to change our image.

Funky - not dowdy.

Such a brand will evolve when we can attract more young professionals, entrepreneurs, businesses and industries that Australia and the rest of the world see as interesting.

Can regulators get the business conditions and mix of incentives right for this to happen?

This is potentially a great place to bring up a family and develop a career. But we need to provide the right conditions.

A high-quality integrated public transport system is essential, and it should include free Wi-Fi.

A high-class Burnie-Hobart transport and freight corridor, better roads generally, more affordable family housing, high quality education, health and other services are the settings for sustained and sustainable growth.

Potential new and existing industries will be enormously assisted if more energy options are developed.

We have hydro, but natural gas, bio fuels, wind and solar should all be vigorously developed.

We must also find better ways to effectively get our products to market, both interstate and overseas.

Tourism still has a big future in Tasmania - yet we have much to do to turn Tasmania into a truly great visitor destination, especially for families.

Some good steps have been taken, especially at the high end of the market, but a successful future is still ahead of us as a broader family holiday destination.

In this respect both infrastructure and hospitality service levels need to reach new levels of quality.

We must also nurture existing industries here and promote them better to the world: wine, food, aquaculture and our traditional primary industries.

If the world equates Tasmania with quality, it will want more of what we produce, and will want to experience Tasmania for itself.

So I see Tasmania as a place known for quality and vibrancy.

We can do it. We just need to rethink our attitudes and priorities.

•HARVEY LENNON is chief executive officer of the RACT.


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