TIDE framework for community and regional growth

TAP supports promotion of Talent, Innovation, Diversity and Environment (TIDE) and a shift in government policies towards promoting more diversified resilient sustainable development based on Tasmania’s unique clean island qualities, niche markets and favourable climate. But Gunns' proposed pulp mill is damaging to TIDE and displaces opportunities for community and regional growth.

Adapted from the Cool Cities program, Michigan, USA, the acronym TIDE represents four conditions that are holistic and systemic rather than causal. Each one is necessary but by itself is insufficient for generating long term prosperity. To attract creative people, generate innovation and stimulate economic growth, there must be substantial, balanced performance across all four.

In TAP’s assessment, Gunns’ proposed pulp mill has a negative effect on Talent, Innovation, Diversity and Environment and therefore scores a fail on each condition.

Tasmania’s ability to attract and retain a ‘creative class’ of talented and creative people will drive opportunities and competitive advantages to our communities. For example, the ‘creative sector’ in the United States represents 30% of the total workforce but earns 50% of the wages (Richard Florida).

Companies increasingly move to locations based on access to talented and creative people rather than expecting those individuals to always come to them. This sector is not limited to young people in high-tech jobs. It includes all ages across every sector and type of organisation.

Innovation, entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial activity across the State’s economy creates jobs.  There are creative jobs and occupations in all sectors of the economy. The State’s unique qualities, its brand and niche markets offer particular opportunities for innovation and development.

Communities with high levels of diversity are the most desirable for young families and young professionals and are economically more successful. Diversity of ideas, organisations and people attracts and retains creative talent.

The Environment (or Quality of Place) focuses on the amenities and other assets that attract and retain individuals and organisations. Creative workers demand natural, recreational, cultural and lifestyle amenities as well as a balance of economic opportunity and lifestyle when selecting a place to live, work and play.

Negative impacts of the forestry/pulp mill model on Talent, Innovation, Diversity and Environment of Tasmania’s future
The proposed pulp mill scores a fail grade on all four TIDE conditions. The government’s failure to assess the social and economic costs of the project is the principal reason for the ongoing absence of financial backing. That failure has also blindsided the Government to the mill’s harmful effects on Tasmania’s future prosperity.

In addition, One-sided legislative support for forestry interests give forestry a massive edge over all other industries competing for the same resources. Forestry industries are exempt from the Land Use and Planning Act, Environmental Protection Act and Freedom of Information Act.

TAP believes that Tasmania can do much better than accept a future dominated by forestry and pulp mill.

Talent = fail.
Wells Economic Analysis concluded that economic gains from the proposed pulp mill will be offset by “crowding out” of other development opportunities and job losses elsewhere. Crowding out will lead to emigration of talented innovative individuals from Tasmania and discourage others from coming.
Innovation = fail.
Innovation and entrepreneurial activity based on Tasmania’s unique qualities and clean brand will be squeezed out under a forestry and pulp mill future that makes the State a bulk commodity supplier into an undifferentiated global pulp market. Preferential treatment and subsidies for forestry and pulp mill sends the wrong signal to entrepreneurs. 

Diversity = fail.
A pulp mill and its service industries will force a narrowing of diversity of enterprises in the north as people sell up to escape odour, traffic and pollution, and as tourists stay away, and Tasmania’s clean brand is eroded. An economically impoverished zone of plantations will expand around the mill site as farmers find that they are unable to sell their land to anyone but Gunns. The economic stability promised by diversity will be lost under bulk global commodity market that cycles between boom and bust.

Environment = fail.
The pulp mill environmental footprint including odour, Bass Strait pollution and large areas of plantations threatens to smother tourism, wineries, organic food production, fishing and associated service industries over a large part of the State. Diversion of taxpayer funds from hospitals and schools etc to forestry and the pulp mill is a disincentive to the ‘creative class’ settling in Tasmania.

A better future
TAP urges adoption of the TIDE framework and a shift in government policies towards promoting more diversified resilient sustainable development based on Tasmania’s unique clean island qualities, niche markets and favourable climate.

Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz recommended diversification and promotion of tourism as key requirements for Tasmania to weather global financial booms and busts (ABC July 2010). Stiglitz is an acclaimed international economist, University Professor at Columbia University in New York and a recipient of the 2001 Nobel Prize in economics.


Richard Florida

Wells Economic Analysis, Tasmanian Roundtable for Sustainable Industries Project, 2007.