Tasmania is at an important point in its history.
Our state is not immune from the dramatic and far reaching after-shocks of the Global Financial Crisis.
As we are seeing nationally, the high Australian dollar and low commodity prices are placing pressure on our traditional manufacturers.
When change occurs there are two options Ė you can attempt to the ignore it and risk being left behind or rise to the challenge.
I am pleased to report to the Innovations Festival 2013 that Tasmania is taking the latter option and rising to the challenge, using innovation as the key to our future.
We may not have the ample mineral wealth of Western Australia and Queensland, or the benefit of having centres of commerce like Sydney and Melbourne. But what Tasmania has always possessed in spades is determination and ingenuity.
We have seen in recent times many visions turned into reality thanks to the creativity and energy of Tasmanians.
Thatís what David Walsh did in creating the Museum of Old and New Art.
Itís what Greg Ramsay and Richard Sattler did with the Barnbougle golf course, and what Robert Pennicott did with his award winning Wilderness Journeys.
Innovative Tasmanians are already working on delivering the next projects for the future.
One of Tasmaniaís natural advantages is an abundance of fresh water Ė we have 12 per cent of the nationís rainfall on 2 per cent of the continentís land mass.
The Tasmanian Government is investing in irrigation infrastructure to ensure this water can be directed to where it is needed most.
In North West Tasmania it will help underpin the massive expansion of the dairy industry, including a $60 million powdered milk factory at Smithton, built on the site of a former sawmill.
It will help quadruple wine production in the next decade to supply the already booming demand for Tasmanian cool climate wine, particularly in China.
Innovation means that we donít have to miss out on the rewards of the mining boom.
We already have companies like GHD - which employs 140 staff statewide providing engineering, environmental, water and transport services to miners across Australia from Tasmania.
Caterpillar Underground Mining in Burnie employs 400 people and exports sophisticated underground mining machinery around the world.
It is by exploiting these kinds of opportunities and investments that we can manage change, create jobs and build a stronger and more diverse Tasmanian economy.