It doesn't take more than a cursory glance across the national media to see every region in Australia looking towards recovery. All are talking about being harder, faster, better and best to maximise their share of the recovery effort.
Coronavirus: All the latest updates on COVID-19 for Tasmania
This is not just pitching for 'big' recovery projects from state and federal governments, but looking to be more attractive to investors and new residents when the curtains of border restrictions are drawn back. In short, it's going to be a very competitive economic climate.
From a business perspective, a key element to being competitive is having easier pathways to investment to free up the spending of capital, and efficient access to markets. The tourism sector, in particular, relies strongly on the latter, a buoyant property sector relies heavily on the former.
There has been much talk in recent days about boosting the first home buyer and builder grants to grow the construction sector. But if it were easier and cost-efficient to get more land available for families, more homes would be built through simple market forces.
Governments paying money to stimulate growth covers the real lack of competitiveness in the sector - it can sometimes be too difficult for developers to develop.
Being competitive is not just about cost or price, although that is important. It is often about being quicker, nicer, of better quality and of higher status. The first foundations to building competitive regions should be placemaking and quality of life - no one wants to invest or live in unpleasant places, which is why we have an advantage here in Northern Tasmania.
Further to advantages of good placemaking, the Northern Tasmanian tourism sector has benefitted incredibly from the outstanding Launceston Airport - our access to market. This has been voted the best regional airport in Australia three or four times and for good reason - it's an awesome place to arrive and depart your journey.
However, in the current climate it is too quiet - only a couple of flights a week. It will be critical for the recovery of Northern Tasmania's tourism and business travel market that our political and commercial leaders ensure that Launceston airport is not lost in the battle for flights as the airline sector emerges from lockdown.
To be competitive, you need champions on your team who can run fast and kick straight - our collective members for Bass and Lyons, on all sides, state and federal, need to be those champions.
- Neil Grose is chief executive officer of the Launceston Chamber of Commerce.
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