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Free at last

Free at last

JUST in case anyone is interested, I’ve declared this paper an Alan Bond free zone – the only one in the country as far as I can tell.

 

 

Economy on up

 

IT’S not just the economic indicators that are giving business the thumbs up at the moment.

Everyone I talk to really is busy, with the biggest complaint being too much work.

Hopefully this is a long-term thing and it certainly seems aligned with activity in our North-West, which underpins so much of what we do.

The announcement on Gorgon will give further confidence for business to invest, knowing that a few billion will be spent in Western Australia over the next few years.

Even better news, too, is the fact that the Gorgon operators plan to conduct more than 50 per cent of their construction work in WA.

This double-barrelled effect of having work done in the State and developing the skills to manufacture for other regions is extremely positive.

Let’s hope the Australian Marine Complex gets some of the work and starts to pay for itself.

 

 

Between Iraq and a hard place

 

WA Business News played host to three top diplomats this week, all who work in the Middle East.

While none denied that the current climate created challenges, it was still impressive to hear how many opportunities there were for WA business in the region.

Education was singled out as a big growth market for Australian universities, and WA’s institutions have proved they understand offshore markets very well.

Of course it’s not just as easy as turning up, but it was interesting to hear the view that our involvement in the war had offered some increased profile in the region – and that was not all bad.

 

 

Development on the WA coast

 

OUR coast is a very precious asset – for some detractors of WA it is our only one – and must be looked after.

While the State Government has reacted to popular opinion in ending the Maud’s Landing development without really offering an alternative, it has at least started the process of controlling coastal development before it gets out of control.

Having said that, there is a time when we can be too precious about our coast.

Why on earth we have rules stopping high-rise when we have thousands of miles of coast is beyond me, but I’ve said that before. Just zone it for certain places and leave it at that.

In asking the mayors of major metropolitan councils what their coastal plans are we are trying to find a theme for the coastal development of the future.

I reckon the beach is there for everyone and I have no problem with what has happened at Scarborough, for instance, where apartments overlook a pristine beach that’s still accessible to the public.

So long as development does not equal exclusion and that its impact on the public is minimised, then it is fine.

Minimising that impact must include ensuring there are facilities for the public to enjoy, such as licensed premises, because the beach in Perth is not just for swimmers and sunbathers, it’s a place to watch the sun go down with a cold beer and hot fish and chips.

Coming back

ONE of the hardest things for successful business people to do is to uproot themselves from where they have been successful to start a new life elsewhere.

It is particularly hard when you have made a name for yourself at the top of law or investment banking internationally and, for a variety of very good reasons, have decided it’s time to leave whatever global capital you’re in and make a move to Perth.

It’s a terribly hard call, based as much on the quality of Perth’s environment and its family-friendliness as it may be on deciding the time is over for leaving the rat race.

And the longer you’ve been gone, the harder it is.

This week we feature a few of these people among an army of Western Australians who have traipsed overseas to find adventure and further their careers – and now come home.

We congratulate these people on making the hard decision, often leaving lucrative positions to find themselves in another form of rat race – where their specialist skills may not be so immediately useful in our small market.

WA needs people to make these hard decisions.

We need people who have operated at the top and benchmarked themselves against different standards.

They are not better than those who have remained at home, but they do bring new ideas and new ways of thinking, which has always helped Perth play above its weight.

No wonder those in the east love to bash WA.

Oh well, its not all bad living in isolated bliss, just so long as we continue to accept new ideas and people from elsewhere, and welcome back those who have taken time out from Perth.

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