Perth as a Resilient Economy

As part of our latest research project for Bigger & Better Beyond the Boom, the Committee has developed a FACTBase Special Report that examines the spatial structure and dynamics of the Greater Perth economy. The research determines those industries that are emerging as critical to the region’s economy.

Rather than limiting the focus to the transformative impact of the most recent boom period, this report takes a longitudinal perspective of the Greater Perth economy and how it has evolved.

Three key questions are addressed: how and why the Perth economy has changed over time; how it has experienced and recovered from different shocks; and the level of resilience in particular industry sectors.

At our next Perth in Focus luncheon, Prof. Matthew Tonts, FACTBase convenor, will present the findings from the report and reflect on important industries for the future economic development of Perth and Peel.

After the keynote address, there will be a Q&A panel session with business leaders, who will reflect on the report and its findings for the economic future of the state.

Meet our speakers and panellists

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Prof. Matthew Tonts

Pro Vice-Chancellor/Executive Dean, The University of Western Australia 

Professor Matthew Tonts is Pro Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Education.

A member of the University since 2001, Professor Tonts was formerly the Director of the Institute for Regional Development (2005-2010) and Head of the School of Earth and Environment (2010-2016). In 2017, he took up the position of Pro Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean of the newly formed Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Education.

Professor Tonts' disciplinary background is in Geography, and has broad interests spanning regional development, rural communities, economic restructuring, and public policy. He continues to be active in research on matters related to rural economic and social adjustment, employment geographies and urban development.

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Prof. Eeva Leinonen

Vice Chancellor, Murdoch University

Professor Eeva Leinonen joined Murdoch University as Vice Chancellor and President in April 2016, after three years of service as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at the University of Wollongong.

Professor Leinonen has an academic background in linguistics and psychology and has extensive experience in higher education in the United Kingdom, Europe and internationally. Her academic research focuses on pragmatic deficits of children with autistic spectrum disorders as well as higher education topics relating to curriculum and use of technology in learning.

Prior to moving to Australia in 2012, Professor Leinonen held the position of Vice-President (Education) and Professor of Clinical Linguistics at King’s College, University of London. She has also been Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Hertfordshire, UK where she also held a number of other academic leadership positions including Dean of the Faculty of Health and Human Sciences, Director of the Health and Human Sciences Research Institute, Head of the School of Psychology and Head of the School of Humanities.

Professor Leinonen has been actively involved in national and international higher education debates and advisory groups. Which have included: Universities UK, Universities Australia; Chair of the UK Higher Education Funding Council/Quality Assurance Agency advisory group into Employer Engagement in Learning, Chair of the King’s –Warwick Project, Trustee of IntoUni Charitable Trust; Trustee of the School’s Competition Settlement Trust, Member of the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group in Australia, Member of the CEOs Council of Open Educational Resources University; Director of University of Wollongong Dubai Ltd; Director and Board Member of Future Directions International; Forrest Research Foundation Governors Committee Member.

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Marcus Canning

Chief Executive, Fringe World Festival

Winner of the 2017 Western Australian of the Year Award in the Arts and Culture category, Marcus Canning is best known as the founder and CEO of the FRINGE WORLD Festival, the largest annual event in Western Australia and the third largest Fringe in the world.

As CEO & Director of ARTRAGE he has driven the development of a range of other successful programs and initiatives over the last fifteen years including The Bakery live music venue, Breadbox Gallery, Northbridge Festivals, Artrage Festivals, Rooftop Movies and statewide regional touring programs.

Marcus has contributed to a range of state and federal arts funding boards including the New Media Arts Board of the Australia Council and served as Chair of the federal Festivals Australia Committee.

In his own right as an artist Marcus has created two of Perth’s most popular and critically recognised monumental public sculptures – Fremantle’s ‘Rainbow’ sea container sculpture entry statement and Ascalon at St. George’s Cathedral in collaboration with Christian De Vietri.

With Adrian Fini he is currently driving the redevelopment of the long empty heritage Rechabite Hall on William Street into a new multi-arts and entertainment complex that will open in 2018.

In 2007 he was awarded the City of Perth award at the WA Business News 40 under 40 awards for cultural contribution to the life of the city. Further insights into Marcus’ 25 years working across a wide array of creative industries can be found at

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Ian Martinus

City of Wanneroo, Manager Advocacy & Economic Development

Dr Ian Martinus has over 20 years experience in economic development and trade & investment leadership appointments. He is currently the Manager Advocacy and Economic Development at the City of Wanneroo. Previous experience includes corporate strategic ventures for Fortune 500 company SAIC in California in the next generations networks team focusing on corporate acquisitions and deal structure. International development experience for donors such as USAID, AusAID, World Bank and EBRD short term included contracts with Deloitte Consulting (USA) and BearingPoint (USA) focusing on trade and investment, financial management and eGovernment deliverables in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Recent consultancies include economic impact analysis and employment modeling for a health campus in Perth, mixed-use marina development and district size activity centres in regional Western Australia and south east Queensland.

Dr Martinus authored the first economic development strategy (2004) for the City of Wanneroo and Australia’s first employment policy focussing on developer contributions in Greenfield sites that trigger local employment creation. Recent consultancies include economic impact analysis and employment modeling for public/private health campus in Perth, Mixed-use marina development and district size activity centres in outer metropolitan Perth.

Ian is a co-founder of three technology startups including Livepad41 which is a real time digital visualization and sentiment analysis company that was a TechCrunch DISRUPT SF and NYC 2012 and 2013 as StartUp Alley finalist. Ian contracted to the Tokyu Corporation for five years (Yanchep Beach JV) and had responsibility for the economic development strategy, investment attraction and investor relations, high level presentations and submissions. Ian is a 40Under40 recipient, an alumni of Leadership Western Australia and is a judge of the Telstra Small Business Awards and Telstra Women in Business Awards annually.

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Lisa Kazalac

Manager, Research & Policy, Committee for Perth

Lisa Kazalac is the Manager of Research and Policy at the Committee for Perth. In her role Lisa oversees the development and publication of research and public policy positions which help to shape the future of Perth and Peel. Trained as an economist at RMIT University, Lisa graduated with upper second class honours, and has recently graduated from Curtin University with an MBA. Lisa’s career has spanned 10 years in the Victoria public sector, where she developed and oversaw public policy development across a wide range of industries, including: transport infrastructure, social and public housing, regulation of the heavy vehicle industry and social policy issues, including the ageing population.. Lisa moved to WA five years ago and has held two positions in WA’s corporate environment with CCIWA and more recently with REIWA leading the advocacy and research agenda for the property industry. Lisa’s fresh approach to member engagement, building relationships and influencing decision makers has created significant changes for the real estate industry. Lisa is an outcomes driven individual, who challenges the status quo. Lisa brings a passion for public policy, evidence-based research and is keen to influence decision makers for a more prosperous WA.

Acknowledgement of Country

The Committee For Perth acknowledges the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures; and to Elders both past and present.