Launceston will be one of Australia’s most liveable and innovative regional cities because of the Launceston City Deal, a federal government hearing has been told.
The Tasmanian Government told the House of Representatives committee inquiring into the development of cities sitting in Hobart on Thursday that Tasmania could be a test place for programs and approaches that may benefit other cities.
The Launceston City Council told the inquiry that the Launceston City Deal, signed in April 2017, would stimulate economic growth and attract businesses to invest in the region.
However, council senior economic adviser Dr Bruce Williams said growth in Launceston was flat, it had an ageing population, high youth unemployment and relatively poor education attainment.
“Launceston faced some big challenges because of the GFC and has seen some major manufacturing declines,” Dr Williams said.
“We need high tech businesses and internet businesses to move to Launceston because we are seen as a smart centre for technology.”
The council said in its submission that there was a strong culture of innovation.
“Launceston has one of the highest rates of start-ups per capita in the country and delivers high quality research through the internationally renowned Australian Maritime College and the University of Tasmania’s highly regarded school of architecture and design.”
The council made six recommendations including that the federal government maintain its commitment to the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme.
Regional Development Tasmania CEO Craig Perkins, who is also Meander Valley Mayor, told the inquiry that the Launceston City Deal had highlighted the need for collaboration between all local governments.
“It will have lasting benefits. It gave us the chance to stop and reflect where the city had come and where it was going in the future,” he said.
“Our regional areas must work together.”