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Tasmania’s Stories

Our brand has 'come of age'

Edition 191_Miley

Tasmania's brand has come of age and the future is looking positive, according to the new head of the Tasmanian Maritime Network, Robert Miley.

Mr Miley told The Mercury in January that he had a vision for the State in which Tasmania’s reputation for quality cascaded through all sectors of the economy, including manufacturing.

The Tasmanian Maritime Network includes shipbuilders and defence contractors Incat Tasmania, Liferaft Systems Australia, Taylor BrothersHaywards and Mr Miley’s PFG group.

The PFG group, based at Goodwood, is a major supplier of equipment to the aquaculture industry, including workboats. It has wide-ranging plastic-fabrication capability.

Mr Miley said Tasmania's brand extended from the food and beverage sector through to manufacturing and small business.

“People are sitting up and taking notice of Tasmania as a brand and when they are delving down to products and services they are seeing a group of very clever, innovative companies,” he said.

Tasmanians, Mr Miley said, had been forced to be clever and innovative because of the barrier of Bass Strait.

“Tasmanian companies have had to reinvent it, or make it themselves,” he said.

Prominent economist Saul Eslake said Tasmanians needed to look at creating high-value and high-quality goods and not try to recreate the economy of years gone by.

“Tasmania is no longer able to offer the cheap power and cheap labour that enabled the establishment of the aluminium, zinc, paper and newsprint industries from the 1930s to 1990s,” Mr Eslake said.

“The State will never get the scale to compete on undifferentiated goods in today’s world on the basis of price.

“Tasmanians seem to think that it is inherently more noble to produce something you can drop on your foot than to provide services and we need to ask ourselves why.”

Mr Eslake said the State’s manufacturing future lay in highly specialised goods, which could be sold at premium prices.

Marine construction was a sector capable of producing goods with a high intellectual content that commanded premium prices, he said.

Liferaft Systems Australia's Managing Director, Michael Grainger, reinforced Mr Miley's optimistic message.

“This is the most exciting time to be a niche, export manufacturer in Hobart that I can recall,” he said.

Liferaft Systems had exciting projects pending which could result in an increase of present employment of about 70 people.

“We are looking forward to an exciting future with Hobart-manufactured exports making up 90 per cent of our business,” he said.

But Mr Grainger said significant infrastructure investment was needed to accommodate growth — and support existing industry.

While Mr Grainger is involved in marine manufacturing he has a rare overview of the economy through his roles as the Chairman of TT-Line and Chairman of the Brand Tasmania Council.

He said: “Our tourism sector is highly successful and delivering excellent results for the State at the moment, but we should not rely on tourism alone to carry Tasmania forward.

“The State needs investment to support our manufacturing industries and the long-term employment growth that will ultimately deliver long-term benefits.

“There are always niche manufacturing export opportunities which bring considerable wealth to Tasmania and Government needs to instill a high level of entrepreneurial confidence, which in turn will create solid investment.”

Mr Grainger said he could not recall such a high level of business confidence in the State as there was now.

This optimism was confirmed when the latest CommSec State-of-the-States report was released in late January.

Tasmania had moved from seventh to fourth place and a CommSec spokesperson said Tasmania was now the nation's big improver after having faced economic challenges over recent years.

The report placed only NSW, Victoria and the A.C.T. ahead of the State of Islands, based on eight economic indicators.

Tasmania's annual growth in home lending was the best in the nation, at 8.9 per cent, while retail spending remained strong after a remarkable, sustained run.

The Mercury editorialised that the report "could well be the most significant good news story for our State in quite some time."

"Tasmania is now ranked third on [unemployment] and is the top-ranked State on another: the measure of relative population growth — which, at 0.64 per cent, is the strongest in 6½ years," the newspaper said.

"The sense of optimism in the Tasmania of 2018 is palpable, particularly in the capital, where the housing price boom has seen home owners 10 and 20 and 30 per cent richer year on year.

"Tourism is also going well, and the flow-on effects as companies invest in Tasmania, on the back of us being so popular with visitors, means there are cranes on the skyline and visible changes happening around the place."

Image courtesy of the PFG Group

8 February 2018, Edition 191

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Facts about Tasmania


Tasmania is the southernmost state of Australia, located at latitude 40° south and longitude 144° east and separated from the continent by Bass Strait. It is a group of 334 islands, with the main island being 315 km (180 miles) from west to east and 286 km (175 miles) north to south.


Tasmanians are resourceful and innovative people, committed to a continually expanding export sector. In 2012–13, international exports from the state totalled $3.04 billion. USA, China, Taiwan, India, Japan and other Asian countries account for the bulk of exports, with goods and services also exported to Europe and many other regions.


Tasmania is similar in size to the Republic of Ireland or Sri Lanka. The Tasmanian islands have a combined coastline of more than 3,000 km.


The main island has a land area of 62,409 sq km (24,096 sq miles) and the minor islands, taken together, total only 6 per cent of the main island’s land area. The biggest islands are Flinders (1,374 sq km/539 sq miles), King, Cape Barren, Bruny and Macquarie Islands.


About 250km (150 miles) separates Tasmania’s main island from continental Australia. The Kent Group of Islands, one of the most northerly parts of the state, is only 55km (34 miles) from the coast of the Australian continent.


Twice named ‘Best Temperate Island in the World’ by international travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler, Tasmania has a mild, temperate maritime climate, with four distinct seasons.


In summer (December to February) the average maximum temperature is 21° Celsius (70° Fahrenheit). In winter (June to August) the average maximum is 12° C (52° F) and the average minimum is 4° C (40° F). Snow often falls in the highlands, but is rarely experienced in more settled areas.

Annual Rainfall

Tasmania’s west coast is one of the wettest places in the world, but the eastern part of the State lives in a rain-shadow. Hobart, the second-driest capital city in Australia, receives about half as much rain as Sydney.

Annual Rainfall

Annual rainfall in the west is 2,400 mm (95 inches), but hardy locals insist there is no such thing as bad weather, only inadequate clothing. If you travel 120 km east to Hobart, you experience a much drier average of 626 mm (24 inches) a year.


The 512,875-strong community spreads itself across the land; less urbanised than the population of any other Australian state. Hobart, the capital city, is home to more than 212,000 people.

Capital City

Hobart nestles at the foot of kunanyi / Mount Wellington (1,270 m / 4,000 ft) and overlooks the Derwent Estuary, where pods of dolphins and migrating whales are sometimes seen from nearby beaches. Surrounded by thickly forested rolling hills, the city is home to the state parliament and the main campus of the University of Tasmania.

Capital City

Its historic centre features Georgian and Regency buildings from colonial times. Hobart is home port for coastal fishing boats, Antarctic expeditions and vessels that fish the Southern Ocean.

Land Formation

Mountain ranges in the south-west date back 1,000 million years. Ancient sediments were deeply buried, folded and heated under enormous pressure to form schists and glistening white quartzites.

Land Formation

In the south-west and central highlands, dolerite caps many mountains, including Precipitous Bluff and Tasmania’s highest peak, Mt Ossa (1617 m / 5300 ft). More than 42 per cent of Tasmania is World Heritage Area, national park and marine or forest reserves.


Vegetation is diverse, from alpine heathlands and tall open eucalypt forests to areas of temperate rainforests and moorlands, known as buttongrass plains. Many plants are unique to Tasmania and the ancestors of some species grew on the ancient super-continent, Gondwana, before it broke up 50 million years ago.


Unique native conifers include slow-growing Huon pines, with one specimen on Mt Read estimated to be up to 10,000 years old. Lomatia tasmanica, commonly known as King’s holly, is a self-cloning shrub that may well be the oldest living organism on earth. It was discovered in 1937.


Tasmania is the last refuge of several mammals that once roamed the Australian continent. It is the only place to see a Tasmanian devil or eastern quoll (native cat) in the wild and is the best place to see the spotted-tailed quoll (tiger cat), all carnivorous marsupials.


The eastern bettong and the Tasmanian pademelon, both now extinct on the Australian continent, may also be observed.


The Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, was Australia’s largest surviving carnivorous marsupial and is a modern day mystery. The last documented thylacine died in captivity in 1936 and although the animal is considered extinct, unsubstantiated sightings persist.

History and Heritage

Aboriginal people have lived in Tasmania for about 35,000 years, since well before the last Ice Age. They were isolated from the Australian continent about 12,000 years ago, when the seas rose to flood low coastal plains and form Bass Strait.

History and Heritage

Descendants of the original people are part of modern Tasmania’s predominantly Anglo-Celtic population.

History and Heritage

Tasmania was originally named Van Dieman’s Land by the Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman in 1642. The island was settled by the British as a penal colony in 1803 and the original name was associated with the convict era. It was changed to Tasmania when convict transportation stopped in 1853.


A resourceful island culture has generated leading-edge niche industries, from production of high-speed catamaran ferries and marine equipment to lightning-protection technology.


Tasmanians produce winches and windlasses for some of the world’s biggest ocean-going pleasure craft; large-scale inflatable evacuation systems and provide specialist outfit-accommodation services to the marine industry.


The Wooden Boat Centre at Shipwrights Point has re-established the skills and traditions of another age and attracts students from around the world.


Tasmania is a world leader in natural turf systems for major sporting arenas and in areas of mining technology and environmental management. Its aquaculture industry has developed ground-breaking fish-feeding technology and new packaging.


Tasmanians sell communications equipment to many navies and their world-class fine timber designers and craftsmen take orders internationally for furniture made from distinctive local timber.


The state is a natural larder with clean air, unpolluted water and rich soils inviting the production of 100 varieties of specialty cheeses, as well as other dairy products, mouth-watering rock lobsters, oysters, scallops and abalone, Atlantic salmon, beef, premium beers, leatherwood honey, mineral waters, fine chocolates, fresh berry fruits, apples and crisp vegetables.


Tasmania is a producer of award-winning cool-climate wines, beers, ciders and whiskies. Other export products include essential oils such as lavender, pharmaceutical products and premium wool sought after in Europe and Asia. Hobart is a vital gateway to the Antarctic and a centre for Southern Ocean and polar research.


The industries in Tasmania which made the greatest contribution to the State’s gross product in 2010–11 in volume terms were: Manufacturing (9.4%), Health care and social assistance (8.2%), Financial and insurance services (7.2%), Ownership of dwellings and Agriculture, forestry and fishing (each 7.1%).

Getting to Tasmania

Travel is easy, whether by air from Sydney or Melbourne, or by sea, with daily sailings of the twin ferries Spirit of Tasmania 1 and 2 each way between Melbourne and Devonport throughout the year.

This site has been produced by the Brand Tasmania Council © 2014

Brand Tasmania

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