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Sunday, August 28, 2005

Saul-searching barb for Tassie

The Mercury: Saul-searching barb for Tassie [29aug05]

TASMANIA'S economic potential is hampered by a lingering resistance to change, economist Saul Eslake says.

He said studies showed that diversity helped competition and that having many creative residents was a better predictor of jobs growth than even education levels.

He said Tasmania had lots of "creative-class magnets", such as historic buildings, established neighbourhoods and opportunities for recreation.

"Yet to my mind, Tasmanians are still more suspicious of and resistant to social and economic change, less conscious of ... the value of education and overseas experience ... and less tolerant of divergent viewpoints, than many of their mainland counterparts," he said.

He said this would "prevent this island and its people from achieving their full potential".

He praised Tasmania's economic improvements but said further education must continue.

Mr Eslake said Tasmania spent more on educating youngsters than the national average, yet the good student results fell away after Grade 4.


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