From the CEO - September 2020

In August we held our first face to face gathering of members since March, and it was great! Over the months we have engaged with members via Zoom but there is nothing like having people in a room for a discussion and debate because we learn so much that is valuable to our thinking.

Our 2020-2021 major research project – the Future of Work: equipping WA and its people for the changing world of work was launched last month and I am pleased to advise that along with securing a Core Funding Partner others have joined as Supporters including the City of Stirling, the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre and the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation. More are to be secured but that didn’t stop us releasing the first piece of research – FACTBase Bulletin 70: Has the Future of Work Arrived?’.

In gathering our members together at our Food for Thought Leaders Luncheon, we discussed the findings of the research and heard perspectives from a broad range of sectors including construction, marketing and media, architecture, tourism and hospitality, education, professional and financial services, sport and the arts. That’s the strength of our membership base - that it is cross-sectoral and supported by many of Perth’s pre-eminent local, national and international organisations and their leaders.

On the membership front, we are delighted to welcome three new members – StudyPerth, Hunter Communications and West Australian Ballet. In addition, we are grateful for the renewal of the City of Perth, Dexus, GESB, Perth Airport, Programmed and RAC. I appreciate the support from our members and a wider group of supporters including Dr Ken Michael AC who chaired our Perth @ 3.5 Million People Project Steering Committee in 2012. Holly and I caught up with Ken recently and he remains an ardent fan of our work and in particular of the evidenced-based approach the Committee for Perth takes.

Our Future of Work project has an ambitious timeline of just 13 months and in that time we need to complete a number of academic papers, commission a member and large-scale community survey, continue to share results and gain insights from our members, draft the report and its recommendations, socialise these and launch it all by September next year. We are working at such a pace given the importance of the changing ways of work including the impacts of COVID-19; an incredibly topical and relevant issue on which there has been much conjecture but too few answers. The next bulletin in the project examines job losses and growth and is scheduled for release in September. As with all of our projects, we will be focusing on the impacts locally whilst benchmarking our performance against other capitals.

And on the topic of capital cities, you may have seen The West covered my thoughts on the most pressing issues for the aspirant Lord Mayors to be thinking about, including how Perth can regain and maintain vibrancy during the day, at night and over the weekend.

It is a task the City of Fremantle has been striving to achieve over the past eight years. I was delighted to be hosted by Mayor Brad Pettitt and CEO Phil St John to see firsthand the changes underway in the Port city. In this edition, Brad reflects on the transformational moves he wrote about in our newsletter many years ago which are now changing the face of Freo in a very positive way.

In August I also had the pleasure of attending the opening event for the Danjoo Koorliny Walking Together Social Impact Festival at The University of Western Australia. In its second year running, the Festival, which is co-chaired by Dr Richard Walley OAM, Carol Innes, Dr Noel Nannup OAM and Prof Colleen Hayward AM, is an important dialogue to be held annually in the lead up to the Bicentennial. In their words, “The year 2029 will mark 200 years of colonisation in Perth. Danjoo Koorliny is designed and led by Aboriginal Elders and leaders to help us walk together as Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people towards 2029 to ensure we don’t have a repeat of the national ‘bicentenary celebrations’ of 1988.” It was pleasing to see so many leaders from government and the community present for an inspiring, yet at times difficult, discussion to listen to. The most moving part of the evening was the closing event in which the Noongar people, led by their elders, formed a guard of honour to thank the wadjellas for attending. It is us that should be thanking them for including me and so many others.

In September we will be holding a member forum with Noongar Cultural Advisor Ingrid Cumming at Curtin University to discuss Reconciliation Action Plans. I caught up with Ingrid on campus to plan the event and already a further opportunity has presented itself with an on-country visit in the planning too.

Our commitment to Reconciliation is deep and Dr Richard Walley OAM addressed a combined meeting over Zoom of our Reshaping Working Group and Hashtag Perth Steering Committee for further discussion about an Aboriginal Cultural Centre of National or International standing. It is fair to say that everyone in attendance appreciated Richard’s insights and heeded his call for patience to provide the time to do this project in the right way, rather than just jump straight into designing a building.

Another briefing session for the Reshaping Working Group provided the opportunity to hear about plans to revitalise the rooftop at the Art Gallery of Western Australia from Executive Director, Colin Walker. The plans aim to create the largest activated rooftop in Perth and house a digital artwork that will create much visual excitement.

To wrap up, I’m pleased to report I have been appointed to Infrastructure Western Australia’s (IWA) External Reference Group, which will be consulted on the preparation of the 20 year State Infrastructure Strategy. This is testament to the incredible work done by the Committee and its members to deliver evidence-based research on a range of important projects that affect our region’s future.

I often say how fortunate I am to have the job that I do ‘working with the willing’ - members and stakeholders who are aligned in their determination to make Perth a region envied for its quality of life, that is prosperous and culturally vibrant. In August momentum was entirely in the right direction.

Until next month, take care.

Marion Fulker

Acknowledgement of Country

The Committee For Perth acknowledges the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures; and to Elders both past and present.