The Tasmanian Division of the Property Council last night launched a report on Initiatives for Hobart.
The report was commissioned by the Property Council to identify opportunities to ensure sustainable economic development into the future.
In launching the report, the President, Ms. Caroline McGovern, said that the Property Council had 2000 members nationwide representing $75 billion in assets. "There are 340,000 people working in outbuildings which cover over 7 million square metres of office space in Australia".
Ms McGovern said that it was well known the state's economy over the past several years had been strong with record jobs growth, reduced unemployment, new private sector investment and provision of new strategic infrastructure by governments.
"Improved Bass Strait passenger transport, the construction of Bass Link and the establishment of the Intercontinental air service to Antarctica represent exciting opportunity for the future".
However, there is a danger of complacency and the Hobart Initiatives report highlights nine recommendations that the Property Council will be promoting with governments and participants in the economy of the wider Hobart region.
The primary recommendation calls for the creation of a strategic regional entity, with an independent chairman, representing governments and business to form a vision with action plans to develop balanced economic, social and environmental best practice.
The report supports the State Government's budget decision to urgently introduce programs to grow talent and the skills base. Ms. McGovern said there are also opportunities to leverage of the excellent research and development programs currently undertaken by the University of Tasmania, Australian Antarctica Division and the Marine Division of the CSIRO.
Commonwealth Government Antarctica programs, along with the new airlink, will strengthen Hobart's international and national positioning for innovation and creativity.
In a development context, the report recommends changes to the planning system to increase certainty and confidence in the planning process. Confidence in the planning system and less adversarial decision making processes will contribute to towards future development opportunities.
The report points towards the need for state and local government to work with business on developing strategic infrastructure investment plans and the removal of inefficiencies in the provision of utility services.
For example, the integration of bulk water supplies with retail distribution will result in significant savings for residents of the region as well as reduce stress statutory charges to businesses to bring them in more into line with interstate jurisdictions.
Ms. McGovern told the guests at launch that the Property Council was not recommending amalgamation of councils but instead identifying opportunities for them to work more collaboratively and cooperatively between themselves and with business for the benefit of their residents and the overall well-being of the economy.