Gallop unveils WA under Labor

OPPOSITION Leader Geoff Gallop has taken a leaf from his Federal counterpart Kim Beazley’s book and called for WA’s workforce to become smarter.

At an Israeli Chamber of Commerce luncheon Dr Gallop outlined the direction WA would take under a Labor Government.

“Possessing know-how is valuable,” he said.

“Take Microsoft as an example. Only 6 per cent of its value is held in tangible assets.

“Those economies exploiting knowledge will win in the global economy.”

Dr Gallop said WA could not afford to become complacent about its economic strengths.

“We can’t ignore globalisation,” he said.

“Globalisation remains the major dynamic in the next century. It’s all about management. Government has to be proactive rather than reactive.”

Dr Gallop said globalisation would force a fundamental shift in world politics from quantity to quality.

“Getting WA online is crucial. Late last year a bi-partisan committee found the government was slow in getting WA online,” he said.

“It seems astonishing to me that the committee would need to recommend leadership in information technology.

“We need a legislation and policy framework in place. We need to make sure we can go ahead without concerns such as privacy.

“The public has already embraced the new technology.

I want to encourage more businesses to go online.

“Small to medium enterprises need to be given opportunities to understand how new technology is changing their markets.

“The research and development sector now ought to be seen as the major player in the world economy.”

Dr Gallop said WA’s universities should be seen as breeding areas for new technologies.

“They should include a keen focus on worker and workplace development,” he said.

“However, while our universities are good at developing technology, the private sector is better at exploiting it.

“We should build more partnerships between the two.”

Dr Gallop said the lack of venture capital funding was still a major barrier for WA.

“If we can get the venture capital policy framework right in WA it could be very important for those funds,” he said.

Dr Gallop said environmental technology would also be a major part of the new economy.

“Sustainable development is now a crucial part of the global economy. Already WA is developing technologies in environmental mining,” he said.

“We’ve also seen the development of world class manufacturing and service industries around mining.”

Dr Gallop said WA could learn from the experiences of Ireland and Israel.

“Ireland gained from its European connections but its drive to make the most of its people and industries paid off,” he said.

“Israel started off fifty years ago with a small population. Now 20 per cent of its population have a degree.”

Dr Gallop said the State Government needed a long-term plan to put WA at the centre of the global economy.

“It’s all about the infrastructure of human capital and information and communication technologies,” he said.

“To date our infrastructure has been physical but in the new economy human capital is going to become crucial.

“No education means no future. We must look at education as being inextricably linked to our economic future – making our education system relevant for young people.

“We must be concerned with our declining Year Twelve retention rate which is down to below 60 per cent. In Germany the rate is 92 per cent and in Japan, 95 per cent.

“The cost of people leaving school is enormous.

“We need to pay more attention to the primary school to high school transition. And we need to expand vocational education training in the compulsory years of schooling,” he said.

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