In the rapidly evolving 21st century, Tasmania’s traditional economy is no longer enough. We need a new or neo-economy to future-proof jobs and investment in this state. That said, it is recognised that the neo-economy and the traditional economy will coexist peacefully. One is not better than the other – they’re just different.
The received wisdom however is that the traditional economy (extraction, manufacturing, processing, etc) is all Tasmania needs. It is not. Undoubtedly the traditional economy will continue in those parts of Tasmania that value and depend on it – it is necessary, but not sufficient.
What Tasmania needs is a diverse strategy in a changing world. The obstacle to advancing towards true economic and cultural diversity is that the traditional orthodoxy is entrenched, with new initiatives seen as economically marginal.
The opportunity is not in buttressing an industrial age legacy but rather in working to create a new kind of economy based on the cultural capital of entrepreneurship, creativity, education, and innovation.
In Europe the creative and cultural sectors alone generate 2.6 per cent of gross domestic product. That’s more than the European chemical industry and the real estate sector. One million people visit the Guggenheim Bilbao every year, only 17 per cent of whom are locals. This neo-economy connection with cultural capital yields more than $300 million to the local Bilbao economy, representing the equivalent of almost 5000 jobs.
The Australian Arts & Recreation sector is currently at 3.2% of GDP and, according to the ABS, growing faster than mean GDP and is outstripping mining, public administration, manufacturing, property services and utilities.
In Tasmania, this public policy discussion is essential. It will be framed by the vision we have for our state in the future, not the past – population policy, arts policy, social policy, urban policy, infrastructure policy, and of course, cultural economic policy embracing them all.
Your input is welcome – the more discussion we have around this subject the sooner it will emerge as a mature and well considered strategy. And the sooner it can begin building momentum as an effective campaign.