From the CEO, September 2018


I write this month’s article after having met with our Cultural Advisor, Dr Richard Walley OAM. It is always a treat to sit with Richard and hear about the many things he is working on as an advisor to both government and the private sector, whilst also dedicating time to his community.

When we embarked on our reconciliation journey in 2007, I had no idea of the profound effect it would have on me, our staff and members. Our actions back then were of leadership, as advocates for Perth to become the city in Australia to acknowledge, respect and celebrate Aboriginal people, their culture and heritage. Since then, we have produced successive Reconciliation Action Plans to guide our actions and we are hard at work finalising our next RAP which will stretch us even further. Richard has been with us every step of the way and continues to be warm of heart and generous of spirit as he works with us to understand the opportunities that lie ahead.

All of the Committee’s work is done with the future in mind and, more often than not, well before an issue becomes mainstream. Our work on reconciliation and gender are two cases in point. In August, I spoke with Sue Beattie from Shell at a Women in Oil & Gas event, ‘Accelerating diversity for a better bottom line’. Sue and I both acknowledged our Filling the Pool report as the guiding light, a report that is the emphatic evidence base and recommendations to have more women participating and progressing in corporate life.

The need to network to develop relationships and finding role models were called out at the event. Meeting and interacting with like-minded women who are forging ahead is important, and next month, my girl crush, Professor Fiona Wood AM will be the guest speaker at our Executive Women’s Leadership Forum. We formed the EWLF in 2009, well before we had started a conversation about a gender equality project. Over the years, women from a range of professions have candidly shared their career and life journeys and inspired other women in the process.

More recently, we have become members of Reconciliation WA, so as to join a community of people and organisations dedicated to reconciliation. In essence, to work with the willing.

That too speaks to the types of organisations that join and stay members of the Committee for Perth. Those organisations and their leaders provide the financial support so that we can undertake evidence based work and give freely of their intellectual input so that we can recommend workable solutions for the future.

Creating and sustaining an evidence base is at the heart of what we do. This month our long-term, joint venture research project with The University of Western Australia – FACTBase turns 10. It has been the backbone of our research program and has resulted in the creation of 70 bulletins and reports which has given us a substantial body of facts that are on our website and accessible to everyone. Over the past decade, many facets of Perth have been examined including the economy, workforce, commuting and land-use planning by a range of academics and adjuncts. FACTBase has become a credible source of knowledge, and one of the reasons for this is that the Committee has no editorial right of veto. What this means is, that even if we don’t like the facts, they must be published, without fear of favour. My privilege has been to take the work of learned people and give it a public face, and in doing so, we have had lots of great media coverage that has helped to start conversations and inform the debate.

Our Bigger & Better Beyond the Boom project Steering Committee has met twice during August to review the draft of the final report and workshop the recommendations.

In early September, we will be sharing those recommendations with members and key stakeholders to get feedback ahead of finalising the draft and preparing the project report for publication, which at this stage contains eight recommendations. Whilst a number of the recommendations will be challenging, it won’t be a surprise that we have acknowledged the need for a long-term infrastructure plan to be prepared by the soon to be established Infrastructure WA. We are launching the final report at a public event on October 23. If you would like to attend book here.

At a regular Chairman’s 20 event, Chair of the Westport Taskforce – Nicole Lockwood provided our members with an update on the planning for the outer harbour. What was particularly impressive was the early, regular and genuine consultation that is occurring with the community as an essential part of the project.

This approach strongly aligns with the findings of our soon to be released, ‘What We Thought Would Kill Us – Learning and Recommendations’ report. The controversy surrounding projects can stall them for many years and become a divisive wedge in the community. One of Perth’s greatest challenges is how to plan for population growth on a ‘grow up, not grow out’ basis. Look out for the report in November and read about Future Bayswater, inspired by the Committee for Perth model in order to give a positive voice to change.

Community views arising from our Perth Perceptions Survey were strong, with people feeling less positive about life in Perth than they were five years ago. There was lots of media attention on the data but what generated the most amount of talkback was people voicing their views to the question, ‘What would you do if you were Premier for the Day?’ In 2015, the most popular answer was to improve public transport. This year however, at the top of the list were two equal firsts - fix the cost of living and social issues.

With that in mind, our team is working hard to finalise the Bigger & Better Beyond the Boom report, in order to create a blueprint for a bright and prosperous future, so that there is more economic growth, new jobs and ways that the older generation can actively participate in the workforce.

Until next month

Marion Fulker, CEO

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