Feature Article: Bigger & Better Beyond the Boom

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Perth 2.0: Bigger, better and more resilient

Whether they’ve been held in CBD boardrooms, on the sidelines of kids’ sporting matches, or at family BBQs, recent conversations in this state have been focused on one key theme – the economy.

Everyone has an opinion, and you know what they say about that, but the prevailing sentiment is clear. We were over-reliant on resources, so our economy was not diverse or strong enough when the mining boom came to its inevitable end. Many argue that having been through these cycles before, we should have been better prepared to cope.

In an effort to learn from the past and plan for a better future, PwC is proud to be the core funding partner of the Committee for Perth’s next research project, Bigger & Better Beyond the Boom: Perth’s economic future as a region of 3.5 million people.

The two-year project will examine the size, industry composition and spatial structure of the Perth and Peel and wider Western Australian economy at a fine grain level. It will challenge conventional wisdoms and identify strategies for a more economically diverse and robust future for the region.

At PwC Australia, our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. As such, being involved in this fact-based research was a natural fit. Our clients operate in virtually every sector and 550 PwC people live and work in Perth and Peel.

Having research that will allow us to have a well-informed conversation about what Perth’s economy looks like at 3.5m people will inform the thinking of business and community leaders, and ultimately, shape the future direction of our state. If that wasn’t a good enough reason to get on board, we believe our involvement in this project will inspire our people, providing them with opportunities to use their professional skills to give back to their community in a meaningful way.

The timing of this project is also perfect. Across Perth, at the height of the boom, there was a conscious acknowledgement that when this finishes we’re all going to need to look to other industries. But to actually get the manpower and the thinking time to get that done wasn’t possible, because we were all so busy making hay while that sun was shining.

What excites me most is the potential of what could be uncovered from the research. Particularly when we turn our minds to what will be the industries and sectors that will be well-suited into the coming decades. The digital revolution is impacting every industry and I know that the job that my 12-year-old is going to have hasn’t even been invented yet.

Location-wise, growth opportunities abound. We are perfectly located to tap into national and international markets with 60% of the world’s population living two hours either side of our time zone. The winners will be organisations that use both technology and innovation to deliver cost effective, convenient, functional and sustainable products.

One of the challenges we do face is that we are currently a relatively small economy and population, so our ability to have strong and vibrant sectors across the board in lots of different industries is challenged by headcount.

Having said that, it’s my firm belief that Bigger & Better Beyond the Boom will discover that there is far more to Western Australia than natural resources and that we can successfully create a resilient, entrepreneurial and internationally-oriented economy.

Justin Carroll, Managing Partner, PwC


Other articles from Insight, December 2016 (view email newsletter):