From the Chairman


With 2017 almost over, it’s time to look back on what has been a very busy and productive year for the Committee for Perth.

The Bigger and Better Beyond the Boom research project, or B4 as its affectionately known, has passed its halfway mark and already produced some thought provoking research. The FACTBase Special Report - Perth as a resilient economy, report was released in late November and its findings flew in the face of conventional wisdom, finding that Western Australia doesn’t have a boom-bust economy, more of a soaring-gliding one.

The report took a long-term view of WA’s economy and revealed that between 1991 and 2016, Western Australia increased its GSP every year and in 20 of the 26 years, we outperformed Australia. Australia experienced three years of negative GDP growth per capita in 1991, 1992 and 2009. In contrast, Western Australia only had two years of negative growth per capita, and in 18 of the 26 years, we outperformed Australia.

Of the 474 monthly unemployment data reports between February 1978 and July 2017, in less than a quarter of these did WA record an unemployment rate higher than Australia’s. And while Perth experienced a significant increase in property prices because of the resources boom, and more recently prices have fallen, these movements are less volatile than in Sydney and Melbourne between March 2002 and June 2017.

While these figures paint a picture of a strong Western Australian economy, at an on-the-ground level, there is no denying that people in the community are hurting. Almost everyone knows someone affected by the end of the recent mining construction boom.

I’d like to thank PwC for coming on board as B4’s core funding partner and the Western Australian Planning Commission, Westpac and an aged care partnership of Amana Living, Baptistcare, Brightwater, Juniper, Mercy Care RAAFA and Silver Chain for being other major funders.

The final B4 report will be released late next year and will outline a blueprint for a vibrant and prosperous economic future for the region. I look forward to reading more of the insights between now and then.

Another major piece of activity for the Committee concerns the Filling the Pool research report. Released in June 2015, the report uncovered complex, business, personal and cultural factors that create barriers to the participation and progress of women in the Western Australian workforce. To assess its effectiveness the Committee is conducting an advocacy evaluation. Its purpose is to show the impact of the Committee’s research and policy agenda for addressing gender equality in WA’s corporate sector. To understand what is and isn’t working in our advocacy strategy. And, to be accountable to our members and project funders, that we achieved what we set out to do. We’ll keep you updated on the findings that come from the evaluation process.

I’d like to wish all our members and their families a relaxing and enjoyable festive season. I’d also like to thank them for their ongoing support. It is your leadership and commitment to making Perth a vibrant and sustainable place to live, work, play and invest that allows the Committee to carry out the high-calibre work that it does. 

John Langoulant, AO

Other articles from Insight, End of Year 2017 (view email newsletter):