SOME OF THE BEST IDEAS FROM OUR TWO-WEEK SERIES
15 TASSIE’S AFL TEAM
WHEN we get our Tasmanian AFL team we must be ready for it, with the talent pathways and the facilities. A 2030 team packed with imports won’t feel the same as a pack of leaping local legends, even if a famous footy son like the next Jack Riewoldt were to lead the team. Let’s make our pathway programs for junior talent the league’s finest. Regarding stadium location, parochial stoushes must end. For now, what can we learn from Geelong, with its bar-setting Kardinia Park refurbishment? That city has a population of 253,269 and its own successful franchise.
14 JOB-READY GRADUATES
THE onus is on both the University of Tasmania and TasTAFE to produce more graduates whose skills meet actual Tasmanian workplace demands. As UTAS embraces its identity as a place-based institution of higher learning, it must walk the walk by responding to its surroundings every day. TasTAFE needs further course review to ensure every certificate’s curriculum is contemporary. A fruitful exchange is underway between the institutions with recognition that greater integration between vocational and uni education is one path to more job-ready graduates.
1 BRING OUR KIDS BACK
LET’s make Tasmania irresistible to the young adults who are our best investment in the future. The demographic outlook is bleak for Tasmania without them — we must splash cash on this mission. Let’s kick off with a Ten Pound Pom-style sponsorship program to bring our kids home by air or sea to give island living a go in their 20s. With Hobart humming and the economy growing, it’s time to convince more of our best and brightest they don’t need to leave the state for university — a traditional stepping stone for abandoning Tasmania for decades.
13 100 PER CENT LITERACY
THE Education Department’s 2019-2022 Literacy Framework appears to align well with the state’s 100 per cent literacy goal embraced by community leaders last year. Next step? We need more pilot programs, starting in 2020, to demonstrate the benefits of specialised literacy support for learners who take longer to learn to decode written language. Another positive next step would be the introduction of the Year 1 phonics screening test now used in South Australia. Digital literacy in college years and among vocational learners needs attention.
2 URBAN NOT SUBURBAN
FIND some more flats, fast. We need more residential apartments around the Hobart CBD and inner suburbs. Demographic research commissioned for the Future Tasmania series shows we face crunch time in 2030 with our ageing population unless we attract many more 20-40 year olds to live in the state. Many will prefer this urban lifestyle, as will many downsizers. Let’s kick off with an incentive or reprieve scheme for landlords to convert their shoptop spaces into funky flats for young folk. They don’t all want to live in outer suburbia.
12 SHARE THE PROSPERITY
TASMANIA’s economy is growing, but more than 60 per cent of respondents to our Future Tasmania survey say they are feeling no personal benefit. Let’s keep rolling out targeted training for areas of job growth, ensuring legacy industry workers reskill for today’s jobs; chipping away at adult literacy with industry-partnered programs; better dental care; and better public transport systems. Greater prosperity for some can lead to greater retreat and withdrawal by others who feel shut out. Let’s also get on top of public and social housing.
3 LIGHT RAIL OR TRAMS
THE Mercury’s Future Tasmania survey of 2500 respondents suggested 80 per cent of us think a northern suburbs light rail should be a priority project for Hobart. The next step is to commit or reject the existing heavy rail corridor as the best route for it. Would we be better off to installing a light rail or tram line initially running from Federal Street in North Hobart to the waterfront, potentially extending along New Town Rd and further north? It would certainly help take cars out the city, which is something else we need to do. The time for talk is over.
11 SISTERLY ADVICE
LET’S initiate a mini OECD-style biennial conference between likeminded cities and states. Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, NZ South Island and Iceland, we’re looking at you. This relatively lowcost concept is likely to be a great forum for sharing solutions to common challenges. Would have to better though than just another excuse for our MPs to go on a junket. Desirable outcomes would resemble the best insights gleaned by Tassie’s Churchill Fellows, who travel overseas to bring home knowledge and experience to benefit their community.
4 IT’S A FERRY GOOD IDEA
THIS year’s State Budget included $500,000 annually to Metro over the next three years to establish a River Derwent ferry service between Sullivan Cove and Bellerive, but funding needs to be greatly increased to offer a comprehensive daily timetable. Strong community support — 72 per cent in the Mercury Future Tasmania survey — is there. So why the agonising goslow, particularly when local ferry builder Incat has offered to supply a fleet if the State Government funds the terminals? Let’s not drown this rare opportunity to transform how we view our river.
10 MISSION RENEWAL
AS NSW burns and our own state prepares for what could be a tough fire season, our policymakers need to be more prepared to listen to our kids and their worries about climate change. Listen to the advice of our scientists on where we should start. Choose renewable energy sources wherever possible, limit your household waste, use your purchasing power wisely; and most of all demand action from policy makers and business. Tasmania alone can’t save the world, but with our green credentials already firmly in place we can be a climate leader.
5 PLANNING REFORM
TASMANIA, and especially Hobart, needs more State Government funding to expedite planning system reform at this crucial time of growth. We need to build a robust planning system that has three solid components rather than focusing heavily in the regulatory space. A strong strategic planning process and the policies that inform it are not optional at this time. We need a clear planning vision and the framework to shepherd it into action. Meanwhile, we need certainty over height limits in our capital city. The dilly-dallying is doing nothing for liveability.
9 ELECTRIC FUTURE
WE MAY be leading the world in heading towards zero-carbon electricity generation in Tasmania, but carbon pollution from transport and land use — including agriculture and forestry — demand more policy attention. An integrated approach would cement Tasmania as an authentic renewables world-beater. Let’s support the pumped-hydro Battery of the Nation storage initiative (providing land-use impacts are minimal) and let’s back a robust decentralised system integrating battery storage from electric vehicles and solarpowered households.
6 HOBART TO THE WORLD
DIRECT international flights from Hobart may be possible as early as late next year to places like Auckland, Denpasar and Singapore — with the $1.6 billion Hobart City Deal outlining bold expansion plans to facilitate the expansion. Mercury-commissioned projections from demographic futurist Bernard Salt emphasise the importance of Tassie asserting its sovereignty by focusing on direct international flights rather than using Melbourne as a gateway. Next step? Let’s put maximum legwork in finding additional direct tourist and export air routes.
7 TOURISM CAUTION
ALMOST 70 per cent of those who responded to our Future Tasmania survey feel comfortable with the rate of tourism growth. Deep community concerns exist though over the State Government’s process to stimulate more commercial developments in protected nature reserves, particularly the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and national parks. When even industry hardcores like walking guides protest, something’s up. Let’s fix it. Greater transparency and boundary respect needed yesterday. First step? For the government to open the books on this.
8 HEALTH HAZARDS
MORE than two-thirds of Tasmanians do not have faith in the state’s health system. Ambulance ramping and emergency department waiting times are a sick system symptom, but what are the root causes? If one is the lack of care for elderly patients who could otherwise be discharged, let’s find solutions at that end. And let’s develop an alternative stream and centre for mental health emergency admissions. Tasmania needs to spend $3236 per head on health to provide services on par with the national average. Currently we are spending $631 less than that.