15/03/2005 - 21:00

Some well-deserved back slapping

15/03/2005 - 21:00


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We never like to go patting ourselves on the back but there are times when its worth giving ourselves credit – mainly because no-one else will.

We never like to go patting ourselves on the back but there are times when its worth giving ourselves credit – mainly because no-one else will.

Two issues have been on the front pages of various newspapers and led many a news bulletin in recent weeks. Both are issues I feel we got on top of first, thanks to our links with the business community and other concerned parties.

One is the skills shortage, which we have been pursuing for at least a year, and the other is a more sudden phenomenon, the realisation that our water crisis has a more simple solution than high-tech alternatives – tapping in to the massive Yarragadee aquifer in the state’s South West.

On the skills shortage we have to thank the engineering consultants who highlighted the problem when we hosted an industry luncheon in February last year.

They were unanimous in their concern that getting qualified staff was becoming difficult, a point we have made quite a noise about for the past 12 months. In fact WA Business News has highlighted the issue on average more than once a week during that period, including two cover stories.

And in one of our regular slots with 6PR, talkback host Paul Murray commented that it was nice to see the issue getting some airplay elsewhere after a year of talking about it with WA Business News senior journalist Mark Beyer who has pushed the issue hardest.

Hopefully that early and consistent warning was heard by some in the corridors of power.

As for Yarragadee, I was astounded to read another newspaper’s commentator ask why no-one had highlighted the availability of the aquifer during the election campaign when the water crisis was a big issue and the debate was focused on a Kimberley canal.

In fact our political columnist Joe Poprzeczny wrote a strong piece pointing out that both sides of the debate were missing the opportunity Yarragadee provided, mainly because they did not want to upset the electorate of the South West.

His story of February 17, nine days before the election, was titled “Both sides avoiding the real water issue” and pointed straight at Yarragadee as the only viable option for solving Perth’s water needs. The Water Corporation was saying this but no-one was listening and it was certainly not up to a state corporation to start bellowing too loud in the middle of an election.

The reason Joe’s column was ignored was because no-one wanted to risk losing SW seats. Now that Labor got rolled in that region but held government easily, I imagine that Yarragadee suddenly looks pretty attractive.

Anyway, enough of the self-congratulation, I guess I will finish reminding you all that that is our goal, to get real information to our readers in a timely fashion so you can use it to make business decisions.

The challenge remains for us to continue to identify and highlight issues confronting business, and ensure that the powers that be are alerted to problems and acknowledge they are doing something about them.


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