It’s a pleasure to be here today, I acknowledge that there is a very, very strong cohort of Tasmanians in the Australian Parliament who turn up on a very regular basis to meetings that are held to express our interest in matters Antarctic.

As Greg [Hunt] would know, we pester him to ensure that those strategic investments that we are starting to see coming together now to demonstrate the advantages that both Greg and Matthew [Groom] have just spoken about, and how important they are for the future of the Tasmanian economy.

So, Marcus [Allan] and Amanda-Sue [Markham], take note, you’ll be expected to turn up to those meetings.

You’re starting to see now some strategic threads drawn together that look at how we as a government are looking to progress the Tasmanian economy. Last week the announcement of the go-ahead of the Hobart Airport, a strategic investment that provides additional capacity not only for tourism, not only for freight exports out of Tasmania, but also for capacity into the Antarctic.

The work that’s being funded here today also plays into our strategic advantage – to make Tasmania a knowledge hub, a knowledge based economy, where spin-off businesses and additional investment can be attracted into the state for the benefit of the Tasmanian economy.

I was in China three weeks ago and at a high level we were discussing just the opportunity for China to use Tasmania as a gateway to the Antarctic – a really important possibility as part of the potential for the growth of the Tasmanian economy.

So as a group we will continue to work very hard on that. Our vision for Tasmania to be a knowledge based economy, one that can attract additional investment for research and development, things like unmanned vehicles which our university here has specific capacity in and can be used in other places that are topical at the moment as well.

That’s what we’re looking to do, so that we can strengthen the Tasmanian economy and it can be one that can stand on its own and doesn’t need to be subsidised by other states. We can build an economy that has its own strength and that’s the vision that we bring.

So the announcement today that solidifies Tasmania’s place as a research hub, as an access hub into the Antarctic, is very, very welcome and fits very much into our strategy for the future of the state. As I said it links up with so many other announcements that we’ve made.

A great pleasure to have you here today, Minister, to make that announcement and also acknowledge the work that my Parliamentary colleagues continue to do of ensuring we have a strong economy and knowledge based economy here in Hobart. Thank you.

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