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An innovation strategy for Tasmania: a new vision for economic development

West, J 2009 , An innovation strategy for Tasmania: a new vision for economic development.

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For almost eight decades, between 1914 and 1983, a single focused and
cohesive government strategy drove Tasmania’s economic development. Known to all
Tasmanians as ’hydro-industrialisation’, the strategy was powerful and effective:
energy-intensive private manufacturing industry would be attracted to Tasmania by an
abundance of low-cost electricity, which would come in turn from harnessing
Tasmania’s endowment of water, through government-built dams and power stations.
It worked. By building a sophisticated manufacturing sector, the strategy
transformed Tasmania from an isolated backwater, with an economy consisting mostly
of subsistence farmers alongside a few wealthy landholders, into a confident, outwardlooking,
and capable industrial community.
But in 1983, when the era of public-private cooperation that created this
transformation was closed by the High Court’s decision to terminate the Franklin Dam
project, Tasmania lost its development mainspring. For 25 years, our state has lacked a
vision to replace hydro-industrialisation. Since 1983, repeated battles over specific
projects, usually with environmental concerns at their centre, have punctuated efforts
to find a new direction. None has produced the new vision Tasmania needs.
The strategy outlined here offers a perspective that can.

Item Type: Report (Project Report)
Authors/Creators:West, J
Publisher: Australian Innovation Research Centre
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© 2009 University of Tasmania

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