Perth a diversified, globally significant city

Perth a diversified, globally significant city
Perth has well and truly left its “branch office town” tag behind and transitioned to a city that is
globally and regionally integrated, and significant for more than its minerals and resources
A new report, Perth as a Global Minerals and Energy Resources Hub, released during the In the
Zone conference at The University of Western Australia, describes a city with a hugely diverse
population and labour force.
Professional services, financial and technology companies had grown in line with the strong
growth in the resources sector over the past decade.
Winthrop Professor Matthew Tonts, Head of School of Earth and Environment, UWA, who was
involved in producing the FACTBase report, said the research called for a shift in the traditional
narrative of describing Perth as a “mining town”.
“Clearly, we need to focus on more than resource extraction,” he said.
Professor Tonts said the study sought to find out what was different about the current
environment in Perth. “It was a question of unique-ness, and ‘where does Perth fit’? Or was this
just another resource boom town?’” he said.
Professor Tonts said that Perth had been dominated by international capital and a branch office
economy well into the 1990s.
However since that time, the increasing diversity of resources and size and scale and projects
had changed the landscape. Further, the heightened incidence of corporate control, whereby
companies from all over the world had relocated their headquarters to Perth, had driven large
scale change, including education outcomes.
“The resource economy is a knowledge economy by definition,” Professor Tonts said, pointing
to the 10,000 undergraduate degrees being awarded in resource-related fields in Western
Australia each year, as well as 12 major research centres with strong international and industry
Perth as a Global Minerals and Energy Resources Hub was produced in collaboration with the
Committee for Perth.
In the Zone is an intensive meeting of national and international leaders from the business,
government and academic sectors.
With the theme ‘The Geography of Global Prosperity’, the conference provides an opportunity
for discussion and debate about the increasingly complex global neighbourhood and key policy
questions facing Australia and the region.
The conference follows the success of the 2009 In the Zone Conference and the 2011 Business