[Originally published on International Resource Journal]
Tasmania, or ‘Tassie’ if you are Australian, describes itself as ‘A World Apart’ and the ‘Best Place on Earth’ in direct reference to the large expanse of undisturbed natural forest and coastline that characterise the island. It has also been called the ‘mendicant state’ by politicians from mainland Australia and in the press as the land of the unemployed; rather different perspectives on the complex realities of Australia’s smallest state.
Looking at a map, Tasmania is the roughly heart-shaped island that dangles below the lower right hand corner of the continental mass of Australia. Separated from the mainland by the tricky waters of Bass Straight, the island sits squarely in the roaring forties that deliver cool winds and plenty of rain. The result is that Tasmania is very green and the western flank coated in dense temperate rainforest. Historically, this western part of the state generated considerable wealth and tens of thousands of jobs from logging and mining.