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Embrace change, says bank chief

WA HAS to make its own mark on the world and dare to be different. It needs to look at the things it does well and build from that expertise, according to Challenge Bank CEO Tony Howarth.

WA also needed to embrace change because it was only through removing inefficiencies and continually getting better that it would remain relevant in the global economy, Mr Howarth said.

Mr Howarth was speaking about the WA financial services outlook at a Future Perth luncheon held by the Committee of Economic Development of Australia and the WA Planning Commission.

He said history had shown that job losses in inefficient areas within the business, banking and government sectors had been largely offset by new opportunities that had been created such as call centres.

He said despite thousands of jobs being lost in the WA Government sector such as the Midland railyard closure and in the banking sector, unemployment during the same period had continued to fall in WA.

“We don’t sing this loud enough I believe,” Mr Howarth said.

“This is good. It is a sign of a strong and healthy economy when the core businesses can restructure, inefficient businesses exit and new businesses grow and prosper.”

He said that in other parts of Australia, such as Newcastle, businesses were stopped from restructuring.

“Large businesses have been stopped from restructuring and inefficiently protected in the name of job security only to see the whole business reach the point of no return and close with devastating effect on the community,” he said.

“We must never let that happen here and be proud to lead change and to continue to provide industry with the opportunity to restructure – because at the end of the day that is our real jobs.

“Here in Perth we can’t rely on doing things just the same as everybody else. We really have to dare to be different. Private enterprise actually allows companies to be different.”

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