From the CEO - April 2018


At the Committee for Perth, we pride ourselves in always speaking from a position of ‘what we know’ rather than ‘what we think’, through our evidenced based approach. Too often, anecdotes and hearsay are put forward as facts. Having released two FACTBase Bulletins over March we have added to our substantive knowledge base of more than 100 pieces of research released since 2008.

March 8 is International Women’s Day, and with the number of events that take place the celebrations extend well beyond the day itself. This year, I provided keynote addresses for the Ionian Society and Stockland and participated in a panel discussion for the Tax Institute. On the day however, I happened to be in Sydney following the AFR’s Business Summit. What a treat to have lunch with a colleague at which we acknowledged the women who lift other women up and the men who are championing change. We did however lament a world that is changing too slowly for his daughters to achieve true equality in their lifetimes. 

Whilst in Sydney, I had the opportunity to meet with some of our members including Mirvac and participated in a national video conference at PwC’s new headquarters at Barangaroo to provide a briefing on Bigger & Better Beyond the Boom (B4). As a lover of cities, I was asked, what makes a good city? My reply, cities that are good are those that are attractive and liveable for their residents and their visitors. They go beyond being a city that merely functions to one that is vibrant with lots of delightful surprises. Not surprisingly, this is not an easy balance to strike. Think of cities you have visited for work or holidays but have walked away thinking, nice place to visit but wouldn't want to live there.

The Committee for Perth’s role is to lead the thinking about Perth being both a functional and delightful region.

In March, our Manager Research & Policy, Lisa Kazalac published her first FACTBase Bulletin on employment patterns and trends for our B4 project. A flurry of media attention ensued because of the reported number of people over 65 years of age working or looking for part or full-time work. Talkback radio on both 6PR and ABC provided an interesting insight, with callers falling into two distinct groups – needing to work or wanting to work. Those needing to work were doing so in order to cover the costs of living, with one caller still paying off a mortgage at 70. The remaining people who were still working were doing so because they wanted to participate, believing they still had something to offer and many confessed to topping up their income, so they could afford the finer things in life. It was pleasing to be in the Channel 9 studios with Council for the Ageing CEO, Mark Teale to discuss the issue and highlight the concerning number of women over retirement age who are living in poverty.

The Bulletin provided the all-important evidence base for the media to draw upon and was the basis of our meeting with the Minister for Seniors and Ageing, the Hon. Mick Murray MLA a few days later.

As I write this article, we have farewelled our international visitor for 2018, Professor Morten Huse from Norway. As part of his week-long visit, co-funded by The University of Western Australia, Morten undertook academic exchanges with UWA and Curtin University researchers and presented at our Perth in Focus event and EY’s boardroom luncheon on FACTBase Bulletin No. 58 Gender in the Boardroom: Learnings from world-leader Norway. Additionally, Morten met with The Hon. Simone McGurk MLA in her role as Minister for Women’s Interests. They discussed the learnings from Norway, Labor’s gender quota and OnBoardWA.

It wasn’t hard to lure Morten to Western Australia. It was a place that he and his wife, Cathinca had longed to visit, given she trains sommeliers and runs wine appreciation courses in Norway. They enjoyed a holiday in the South West and Great Southern regions and loved the wines and the natural beauty. Thanks to Kate Lamont for hosting them at Lamont’s Cottesloe for a chardonnay tasting and a special thanks to Sholto Smith and the team at the Hyatt for making their stay in Perth so memorable.

All in all, a busy month of activities, some highlights captured in the images below. 

Marion Fulker


Other articles from Insight, April 2018 (view email newsletter):