From the CEO, November 2018


There is no doubt that October was an action-packed month. Starting with a week-long visit to The Netherlands as a guest of the Dutch government and ending with the launch of the final report for our Bigger & Better Beyond the Boom project (B4) at a lunch attended by members and key stakeholders.

The Dutch government invited a public policy influencer from each state in Australia and two from New Zealand to visit The Netherlands to examine smart urban solutions. I will share just a few of the highlights with you.

Starting on Sunday afternoon, we stayed at, and did a site visit of NDSM Wharf in Amsterdam, a large-scale regeneration project on the former shipbuilding yards. We were fortunate to be led on a tour by Eva de Klerk, author of 'The City as a Shell' in which new spaces are created by entrepreneurs and artists inside existing industrial scale structures.

Monday, we received a briefing from Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions, an initiative kicked off by the City of Amsterdam to focus on research projects and test beds to develop a deep understanding of the City. AMS Institute has partners from tertiary institutions, large corporations, and even Singapore. The City’s initial €50m investment has raised more than €200m in other funding, a very clever model. We also visited Zuidas, Amsterdam’s newest precinct with live, work and study options. It is also home to their busiest rail station with about 100,000 boardings per day, up from just 7,000 in 2013.

Tuesday started at former industrial city, Eindhoven which has been home to Philips for more than a century. As part of our visit we toured the regeneration of their former factory Strijp S and saw some of the coolest eateries and bespoke retailers. Later in the day we visited a sustainable housing precinct, Rijswijk on the outskirts of The Hague before frocking up for a reception at the residence of the Australian Ambassador.

Wednesday, we saw technology at its best at Delft University of Technology where we visited sustainable demonstration project Green Village and the student-led Dream Hall where successful solar car challenges have been designed and engineered. Then were amazed by Markthal in Rotterdam, the development of a new purpose-built food market with apartments in the same structure. That evening we attended the opening dinner of the 2018 Innovation Expo hosted by Mayor Aboutaleb.

Thursday was a feast of technological innovation at the Expo including my first exposure to a flying car! That night we cruised the canals of Amsterdam, reflected on what we’d learnt and said a sad farewell. Suffice to say that we all learnt a lot, have a greater appreciation for the Dutch and their ability to identify and solve problems through a pragmatic yet intelligent approach.

There are not enough thanks I can give to the Dutch government for inviting me to learn more about smart cities and the technology and innovation that drives them which helps us shape our next projects.

I took a ferry and train on my last morning from Amsterdam to The Hague to meet with Shell’s people working in their scenarios team. Next month, Shell and the Committee for Perth are running a workshop on Perth as a smart city and look forward to the outcomes which I will report in the next newsletter.

As I arrived back the final report for the B4 project went to the printers, so it was all systems go for finalising the presentation and briefing as many key stakeholders ahead of the official launch on 23 October of Perth’s Pathway to Prosperity. It’s early days yet but the report has received wide-spread media coverage and strong support from our members and key stakeholders.

Our research found that Perth is losing its competitive edge to other cities that are being more strategic, trying harder and investing more. Of the seven recommendations contained in the report, four focus on first time initiatives including the development of an inward investment strategy, the creation of an economic development and competitiveness strategy, the establishment of a long-term infrastructure strategy and the establishment of an education strategy. With that in mind the old adage springs to mind, ‘fail to plan, plan to fail’.

Another key finding is that of 27 reports prepared by government, industry and the not-for-profit sector over the past decade – there is a strong accord about what needs to be done, yet as a region we have failed to act on our good thinking and consensus views.

If government wants to grow the economy and create new jobs, then they need to read the report and implement the 25 actions that detail the next steps required.

Once again, my appreciation to the B4 Steering Committee, ably chaired by Justin Carroll, who debated long and hard about the final report and its recommendations. They were determined to be bold, and the result is a report we can all be proud of in terms of making a thoughtful contribution to the future of Perth and Peel.

Thanks also to The Hon. David Templeman, Minister for Local Government; Heritage; Culture and the Arts for sharing his vision about the future of the culture and arts sector in Western Australia at our Food for Thought luncheon. His passion, candour and insight were greatly appreciated.

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