We grow most of the southern hemisphereâs crop of saffron â a substance literally worth its weight in gold.
We have the highest concentration of scientists per capita of any State in Australia, and we are the only place in the world that can claim to export Fuji apples to Japan and tulips to Amsterdam.
Innovation is a mindset, not an endpoint.
Tasmaniaâs economy in the 20th Century was based on the innovation involved in investing on an unprecedented scale in hydro electricity â an investment that brought new industries to our shores to take advantage of a constant supply of low-cost electricity. In the modern, carbon-constrained world, up to 70% of Tasmaniaâs electricity already comes from renewable sources â something no other State in Australia can match.
It is just one example of where Tasmaniaâs natural advantages can drive an innovative future. Tasmania is facing the same three great global imperatives that are facing every State in the nation and every nation on earth. These are the management of scarce water resources, the rapid onset of the telecommunications revolution, and the need for a sustainable renewable energy future.
In each of these areas, we have natural advantages that we will harness through innovation to drive sustained economic growth.
In water, about 12% of Australiaâs rain falls on only about 1Â½% of its landmass â the State of Tasmania. That is an advantage that we are building on through irrigation schemes across the State â worth a combined $400 million â that will see Tasmania become the foodbowl of Australia.
In telecommunications, Tasmania will become the most connected place on the planet by 2014, with direct fibre-to-the-premise connection for 200,000 homes, schools, businesses and hospitals.
And in renewable energy, we are continuing to see investment in wind power, with companies also exploring hot rock technology in central Tasmania, and wave generation off our northern coastline.
The Tasmanian Government, in partnership with the business community and other levels of government, will keep investing in these areas to foster an innovation-focussed future that will support Tasmanian jobs for decades to come.
I congratulate the Australian Innovation Festival for this publication and for their ongoing support of innovation, which is playing such a vital part in Australiaâs future.
David Bartlett MP