WA is a large state… geographically isolated from pretty much everywhere else on the planet – which has been a contributor to the innovation that has come out of necessity; however we can be seen for being somewhat insular in our thinking as well. With such a large state that has enormous resource potential and therefore significant revenue generation for the whole of Australia, the importance of location to policy and decision making is becoming more and more important…
Why is this important? Our huge state with only 10 % of the population of the country contributes somewhere in the vicinity of 40% of the national export revenue and greater than 20% of total business investment:
This brings up the question of where is the strength in the economy of Australia coming from and what are we doing to make sure that it is supported and it lasts? There is one word that all politicians (especially federal ones) need to know more about – that is ‘Pilbara’. Regional Western Australia is essentially the economic crutch of Australia, however it has suffered from decades of both sides of politics grossly under investing in it. It is sad to say that being a native Western Australia I have not even been there myself, although this will change next Monday when I venture up to Karratha to see things for myself.
What I believe that I will discover is that there needs to be considerable shifts in thinking (especially federally – there I go again!) to support regional investment and policies. This ties into some great work that was put in place in the US through the Obama administration – they implemented a Placed Based Policy in which one of the key principles states that:
“Many important challenges demand a regional approach”
This is not been seen as much here in WA until the change of government at the end of 2008 and with the work of Brendon Grylls (no relation to Bear that I am aware of…) we have seen more of a regional focus to policy and expenditure sometimes even with a map to help things along!:
The next step is to see the planned to be released State Planning Strategy which should further help position the need to placed based policies and hopefully set a vision for the future WA that we all want and deserve…
Anyone with some good place based policy examples that they can share?