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Legal Elite now on line

AFTER a false start our Legal Elite is up and running and the first few nomination forms came trickling in.

While it is early days at this stage, it is always worth noting a few of the names gaining early mentions.

One of the few early mentions from among last year’s lists was Geoff Gishubl, of Blake Dawson Waldron, who cracked a mention under our Native Title category in 2003.

We have folded that into mining this year, where Mr Gishubl has pulled nominations.

Jackson McDonald’s Maria Saraceni is another name gaining nominations in the employment/industrial relations category.

Family law is one of the most active areas. Andrew Davies from O’Sullivan Davies is a name that has crept up there in the first stages of the nomination process. Last year we didn’t get enough interest in that field to warrant making a list, hopefully that will change in 2004.

Wendy Buckley is the sole barrister nominated at this stage. Given the number of nominations last year, she is unlikely to remain unchallenged in the coming weeks.

That gives me the opportunity to mention that barristers may be nominated for any specialist field as well, so don’t be fooled by our less-than-legal terminology in the form. Please exchange chambers for firm if you want to nominate a barrister.

A special note to those planning to download a form from our homepage www.wabusinessnews.com.au and fax in their nominations: please remember that you must nominate at least as many outsiders as you do colleagues from your own firm for your nomination to count.

And nominate as many people as you can, it will all help when we come down to the wire.

On top of that, we’ll have a draw for a case of wine from among the eligible entries. To win that at least eight outside nominations will have to be made on the form – though we’ll excuse any entries to date that don’t meet that criteria.

So please get nominating.

Second chance

LAST week’s news that the railway between the CBD and Northbridge would not be sunk came as a huge disappointment to many.

While I doubt this is the last word on the matter, I have to say that the first time this opportunity was missed was some time ago when the decision was made to locate the new convention centre complex away from the entertainment district.

At the same time, efforts to locate a sports facility to house soccer and rugby next to the rail line were also abandoned.

Both of these facilities, the sports stadium and the convention centre, should have been located next to an existing non-residential entertainment area with the added advantage of a public transport hub.

These were natural catalysts to sinking the railway and ending the artificial divide between the city and the nightlife area – a gap which currently leaves many visitors to the business district wondering if Perth has any life at all.

As I have previously mentioned, this issue will fester because convention visitors to Perth will be miles away from any major entertainment area.

The sports stadium is really an upgraded and more permanent version of the temporary stands that Perth Glory suffered with in its early days. The major multi-sports stadium vision in the central city has disappeared.

Instead, some hybrid Aussie rules and racing beast has been suggested for Belmont – yet another potential white elephant located miles away from anywhere useful.

Talk of housing Kerry Stokes’ art collection in the East Perth Power Station has a similar feel, when a central location like the old Treasury buildings would be ideal.

It really is time we started to make the central city a more exciting place to visit.

Bringing the CBD to life after dark is ideal because the resident population is small and, arguably, will embrace extra activity.

With the WA Government spending $1 billion plus to give the residents of Mandurah and Rockingham a easy ride up to the CBD, putting more facilities in Perth’s heart, opening up the district to more nightlife, allowing retailers more scope for opening hours and using the marginal or unproductive land and buildings in more inventive ways will make that investment pay – in the long run.

Covering the rail line, one way or another, is part of that process.

Skill solution

IN my role I am increasingly exposed to the engineering community.

While some might sympathise with the need to understand that special sense of humour that is clearly part of the engineering curriculum at university, I have found the engagement with this community quite refreshing.

Due to the nature of their work, engineers call it like they see it. They understand the balance between risk and reward, as well as innovation and conservatism, arguably better than any other business sector I have dealt with.

So when they say there is a skills shortage they are not crying wolf. There is not political motivation, no attempt to drive down costs – just a plain old problem with a simple solution: overseas talent.

Its time the politicians started listening to the people who make sense in this world, not the ones who bark the loudest.

 

 

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