Advocate Exclusive – Op-Ed

Release Date: 1/03/2018
As a person brought up in Devonport, I have a special affiliation with the beautiful North West Coast of Tasmania.

But I have always believed that the North West Coast is the forgotten part of the State.
With amazing beauty and a resilient and resourceful community it has seemed to me that the North West’s potential was just waiting to be realised.

It seems to me that perhaps in 2018 and beyond it’s now happening.

The North West is increasingly becoming the State’s economic powerhouse, arguably eclipsing the Launceston/North East region as Tasmania’s “business capital”.

This is growth based on several really exciting factors.

Firstly, the importance of the Port of Burnie cannot be underestimated.
This critical piece of infrastructure has become the State’s freight pathway to the mainland and the world.

As the only port in the State that can withstand growth and increasing ship sizes, I believe that the economic dynamo that is the Port will only continue to grow.

The region is also experiencing a resurgence in many of the industries that have traditionally added huge value to the State.

Among other industry areas, agriculture, dairy, advanced manufacture and tourism are all on the increase in the North West region.

I am particularly excited about the investment by the international dairy giant, Dutch Mill in Edith Creek and the resurgent Elphinstone in Burnie.

Both organisations will see increasing employment opportunities for locals and boosts to the local economy over coming years.

In addition to other terrific local industries, such as the berry giant “Costa”, the announcement of the new Spirits and Sea Roads investments provide Devonport with huge benefits.
The economic potential of more passengers arriving in Devonport is huge the question has always been: “How can we get them to enter the City’s CBD rather than turn right onto the Bass Highway?”

The strategic and daring “Living Cities” project will encourage passengers to into the CBD of Devonport and keep more of their spend local.

My colleagues at the Master Builders Association of Tasmania also tell me that their North West members are enjoying record building renovations, which is also great news for the economic health of the entire Coast.

The one issue that I would like to see fixed Statewide, for even greater economic growth on the North West Coast is the finalisation of planning reform.

We need one scheme with uniform administration. The frustration of investors, developers and even home owners continues to be a constant in my world.

The only way that this is going to work is to take planning away from local government and create a central body to manage planning Statewide.

Much of the planning issues relate to how a local government interprets the scheme - or a council backing down to due to a loud minority.

We need good development, sustainable development and development that respects our heritage values – both built and environmental.

But we also need development.

A Statewide planning scheme, overseen by something like the Tasmanian Planning Commission, could also go a long way to begin to solve the housing crisis Statewide.
Contact: TCCI Chief Executive Michael Bailey – 0437 322 338 

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