Tasmania must drive real jobs and export growth from its huge freight equalisation windfall or run the risk of losing it, business identity Wayne Bould says.
The federal budget contained $203 million over four years from January 1 next year to expand the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme to cover exports bound for overseas.
It is expected to be a game changer for Tasmania, but only, according to Tasmanian Minerals and Energy Council CEO Mr Bould, if the state uses it to drive business and jobs growth.
If not, he fears, Canberra might have an excuse to cut or even end the extra funding after the four-year commitment.
"We should not sit on our laurels," Mr Bould said.
"We should be going at it as hard as we can.
"Tasmania really needs to understand the clock is ticking."
Mr Bould sees the mining scene as having plenty of opportunities, despite recent price downturns and job losses.
"I don't get, when I'm talking to people wanting to invest, anywhere near the negativity there was in the system two or three years ago," Mr Bould said.
Many of the opportunities will be discussed when the minerals and energy council runs its annual conference from July 1-3.
Traditionally held in Launceston or Hobart, it will be at Queenstown this year.
The location and optimism about the sector appear to be driving strong interest in the event.
It usually attracts about 120 people, but might go as high as 200 this year, according to Mr Bould.
The minerals council will consider keeping it on the West Coast.
"Queenstown isn't a bad place to hold a conference," Mr Bould said.
"It's well set up, accommodation is cheap, the town's pretty well fixed and it's a unique environment."