The looming new financial year offers opportunities to improve the nation’s position across a range of metrics, particularly given the shifting sands caused by COVID-19. And as WA benefits from good leadership, wouldn't it be great to see one of our best sports executives recognised nationally for her success here.
Christina Matthews is a standout candidate to run Cricket Australia, with many of her supporters believing she was wronged in 2018 when overlooked to replace James Sutherland after the ball tampering scandal cost him the sport’s top national job.
The Western Australian Cricket Association lost coach Justin Langer to the national role after Darren Lehmann left at the same time, so perhaps it was too much to suggest Western Australians filled those key positions at the same time.
Some have also raised the gender question and whether cricket is ready to have a woman at the helm. Given Ms Matthews has been a key executive in numerous sports, including cricket, in numerous states, as well as running one of the most successful franchises since 2011, this hardly seems a factor.
Furthermore, the women’s game is becoming increasingly prominent, so female leadership seems more logical.
And it is not as if Ms Matthews has had it easy.
The WACA chief has had to navigate some difficult waters in her time, especially around facilities. She inherited an ill-fated and eventually costly property deal to put apartments around the ground. More recently, Ms Matthews had to negotiate an arrangement for cricket to use the new Optus Stadium, a move that has resulted in significant changes to the way cricket can earn income.
She was not helped by some of Cricket Australia’s decisions to overlook the new Perth venue for major games. That earned her wrath, so Ms Matthews may not have endeared herself to the national body for publicly standing up for local members.
That the WACA boss is even mentioned as a replacement for the newly departed Kevin Roberts – who lost support of various key factions when the pandemic hit the sport’s income – signals further recognition that WA sports leadership is strong.
Pandemic forces foreign focus
As Victoria’s emergence from lockdown stumbles while the rest of the country considers releasing the shackles, we ought to start thinking more creatively about dealing with the parts of the economy being hurt most.
Tourism and tertiary education are the areas that appear to be struggling most, especially those that deal with international visitors or students.
For tourism, it is hard to imagine any easy way that international borders can be opened in the short term to satisfy their needs. Tourism operators will need to hope the locals, equally restrained from international travel, will make up for the markets lost overseas.
Things are different in the education market.
Universities and various colleges have become reliant on foreign students. In fact, these students subsidise the cost of domestic education.
They also spend hundreds of millions on goods and services locally. Locking out more than 50,000 students will have long-term ramifications for our education system.
As I have mentioned before, we could offer special treatment to foreign students with subsidised charter flights and cheap quarantine in otherwise empty hotels, to welcome back not just economic drivers, but also our future friends in the region and beyond.
And the hotel sector would also benefit.
Business News will launch a new-look website at the start of the new financial year, featuring significant enhancement of features for subscribers.
It is a project that has been years in the making and months in the delivery. Through our own experience, users surveys, and significant qualitative research by our development partner Alyka, we believe we have created a website that better delivers to customers’ key needs.
Firstly, we have made it even more focused on news, making it easier to navigate and more pleasing to use for those who want to read our stories or consume other content.
Secondly, we have repackaged our BNiQ search engine, which will now be called by the product it delivers – Data & Insights.
Finally, and most importantly, we have even more deeply linked these two core functions by offering our subscribers a new feature called MyBN – a place where they can save articles they need, create category newsfeeds, and follow organisations, people, projects and lists so they can be notified of updates.
For anyone who has run an IT project, which includes redeveloping a website as sophisticated as ours, you will know how many roadblocks there are to achieving your key aim of producing a quality product on budget and on time.
I hope you take the time to explore our new interface.