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Tasmania’s Stories

Forestry leads jobs bounce

Edition 194_Forestry

A record number of Tasmanians are working, with latest figures showing 600 full-time jobs created in March, and ‘new’ forestry is one of the main contributors.

Perhaps most heartening is that this jobs growth is now starting to flow into regional areas.

Latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show good news for Tasmania. Over the past four months 2,100 full-time jobs have been added – 600 of those in March alone.

All this equates to record employment levels, according to Treasurer Peter Gutwein.

“Today there are more Tasmanians in work than ever before, with the total number of people employed at a record high of 246,900,” he said.

“Tasmanians are also more confident about getting a job, with the state’s participation rate up 0.9 per cent over the year to March 2018.”

The ABS data also points to an employment turnaround, reversing a decline that dates back to mid-last year when full-time jobs in Tasmania dropped by 2,400 between June and October 2017.

Economist Saul Eslake told The Mercury these figures indicate some part-time workers have been able to move back into full-time jobs.

“It also shows that while the population is growing, there are enough jobs being created to keep the unemployment rate stable,” he said.

Tasmania’s peak business group, the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TCCI), is heartened by the latest trends.

“Yes, this new jobs data is very significant,” TCCI Chief Executive, Michael Bailey said.

“It indicates the return of full-time work.

“We have been concerned about the growth in part-time jobs for some time now.”

He added that the trend back to full-time employment is a clear sign of economic growth: “It is very pleasing to see this increase in full-time jobs as it shows that our economy is really becoming strong.”

A clear sign also of an increasingly diversified economy with Mr Bailey pointing to a number of booming sectors underpinning growth – tourism, construction, retail, agriculture and aquaculture.

“We want to see a really robust economy with a lot of different elements all doing well,” Mr Bailey said.

“It is pleasing to see we have lots of eggs in lots of different baskets.”

However, there is one sector that Mr Bailey did single out – forestry – saying it was a key contributor to the 600 full-time jobs added in March.

“Forestry is back,” Mr Bailey said.

“We are seeing the return of forestry, but a ‘new’ forestry and a smarter forestry.

“The forestry industry in the southern forests, and also in the north-east, is moving into better and more value-added products, such as pellets, driving this recent job growth.”

Mr Bailey suggests taking a drive through Scottsdale, the heartland of the north-east forestry industry, and it will quickly become apparent that confidence is returning.

“After years in the doldrums Scottsdale is coming alive once more,” Mr Bailey said.

“Head into town and speak to any of the businesses and they will all say the same thing. The trucks are coming back into town and people are going into stores and buying chainsaws and other equipment again.”

This activity in Scottsdale also reflects an important trend emerging in latest employment data. Jobs growth is now spreading into regional areas and no longer just confined to Hobart.

“Hobart is a juggernaut, and it has been booming for some time,” Mr Bailey said.

“But we are now seeing this action spreading out from the South and into other regions which are also starting to see increases in full-time jobs.”

Construction is a case in point.

The stand-out regional performer on that front is Devonport, which Mr Bailey described as “really booming.”

Central to this is Devonport’s Living City urban renewal; a five to ten-year construction project that will see the development of new retail, business and waterfront precincts creating hundreds of jobs along the way.

The TCCI is also excited about “the return of Launceston” on the back of major developments such as the Silo Hotel, the C.H Smith Building and the University of Tasmania's ‘mega-campus’ at Inveresk.

All of these are helping with the resurgence of vitally important full-time jobs.

Image courtesy of The Mercury

8 May 2018, Edition 194

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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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