From the CEO, August 2018


As part of our Bigger & Better Beyond the Boom (B4) project we examined regional economic development plans and concluded that both Brisbane and Singapore’s were the best in breed. Having visited Brisbane earlier this year to meet with key stakeholders, in July I visited Singapore in order to undertake the on-the-ground research the Committee is so highly regarded for.

Over three days I met with leaders in government, the bureaucracy and business to better understand the 2017 Pioneers of the Next Generation report developed by the Committee on the Future of the Economy. I was particularly interested in the implementation phase, which is now well underway. It is important to acknowledge that democracy Singapore style is somewhat different to the way it is applied in Australia however, my learnings are instructive nonetheless.

Key Learnings

  • Scarcity creates a mindset different to that of an abundance mentality. ‘Perth’s luxury is its land.’
  • Leaders and decision-makers do what is ‘the best for most people’. Citizens can make objections and hearings are convened where there is significant disquiet, but the leaders will make decisions based on what is best for the majority of society and Singapore.
  • Economic development and quality of life underpinned by environmental sustainability are equally important in policy-making and implementation. This creates a prevailing triple bottom line approach that is inculcated into decision-making and implementation.
  • The report was developed from the ground up and although led by government, its development included inputs from business, union leaders and many others.
  • All plans are adopted by Cabinet and become the guiding documents that inform implementation plans through Ministries (Departments). Post endorsement, it is clear what Cabinet expects and this has a cascading effect into departmental activity.
  • Many leaders in Singapore have a strong affinity and affection for Perth having either studied or visited often and we should harness this.
  • WA needs to do more than talk about opportunities. The state, sectors and businesses need a comprehensive strategy to market projects to willing partners in Singapore.

In undertaking study tours, I often rely upon colleagues in government to assist in planning and introductions. I can’t thank Commissioner to Singapore, John Catlin at the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science & Innovation enough for his assistance in setting up meetings with key people.

Singapore was packed with tourists, many congregating at the waterfront, which is home to a number of iconic cultural and hospitality offerings. I remain totally enchanted by the architecture of the Marina Bay Sands casino and hotel development and was equally impressed by the increase in cultural facilitates and public amenities in the precinct.

As regular readers know, gender is front and centre of the agenda for the Committee for Perth, so it is worth mentioning that in Singapore I was treated with the upmost respect, making my visit not only fruitful but a pleasure as well.

In keeping with the gender theme, in July we held two Executive Women’s Leadership Forum events. The first with Libby Lyons, Director of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency and the second with the Hon. Simone McGurk MLA. These forums are held to put into action some of the recommendations of our Filling the Pool report by offering a comfortable networking environment and showcasing role models. It is fair to say that with two outstanding speakers, our cup runneth over last month!

B4 continues to be the focus of our attention, with a briefing held on the top-level findings of our triennial Perth Perception Survey conducted by Ipsos, which will be released in August and the extended team working on the first draft of the report. The project Steering Committee will meet to consider the draft and its recommendations in August. By early September, we will be at an advanced stage and will instigate a round of consultation sessions to be scheduled with our members and key stakeholders. At that point, we will have about six weeks to finalise the report ahead of its launch on 23 October.

It’s a busy time in the office with Holly having recently attended the Associations Forum annual conference and returned with new ideas for member engagement, Madeline is proving to be a versatile member of the team and taking on more responsibility for events. Georgie however is this month’s star performer given she is not only coordinating the B4 project and been the author of the latest FACTBase Bulletin, she has also been appointed to the Westport Taskforce Reference Group.

Our membership continues to grow and importantly remain engaged. Committee for Perth Chairman John Langoulant AO and I have been visiting our Gold Members over the past few months and in July met with Perth Airport, RAC and Curtin University and I have also met with Keystart and the Northwest Shelf Joint Venture. The conversations are rich and informative. The Reshaping Working Group has signed off on our submission to the Green Paper on planning reform and received a briefing on the opportunities and impacts on urban form expected from autonomous vehicles.

All in all, a range of important activities to shape the future of Perth.

Marion Fulker

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