If you’re responsible for your business’ growth and the prosperity of your company, you might feel a bit under pressure. Totally understandable.
At the peak of the resources boom in 2012, coffee shops around St Georges Terrace buzzed with optimism. Gross State Product (GSP) increased by 7.3% that year on the back of intensifying investment in the resources sector. Businesses in Western Australia were responding to growing Chinese demand with steady investment.
However, fast forward seven years and the frenzied WA economy is shuffling through the cold hard reality of the commodity cycle.
Business investment – the driver of the State’s recent resources boom – has fallen spectacularly in response to a slump in Chinese demand and lower global commodity prices.
While West Australians are no strangers to economic volatility, the current crushing load of stress and uncertainty test the endurance of the best of us.
With the consumption slow and business investment on the sidelines, government spending was unable to fill the gap. The State Treasury has already been exhausted by what the former State Government labelled a ‘perfect storm’ of having to use high but unstable revenue to fund ever-growing spending responsibilities.
What’s next for WA?
We are at the pivotal point of enormous possibility.
We are rich in resources, perfectly positioned, and the possibilities are now astounding. The trial is real, but the opportunity is there to take.
Based on the modelling by Deloitte Access Economics, allow me to point you to the collaborative areas that can help Western Australia grow, prosper and accelerate.
Each of these exciting opportunities exists in response to global need but is also aligned with WA’s relative strengths. Every opportunity identified is a result of either an existing natural advantage, or being at the right place at the right time, or is optimising the technological developments of the resources boom.
To be considered an opportunity, the following must be sure:
1. Align world-wide need with what we do best.
At the crossroads of global change and WA’s comparative benefits lies opportunity.
2. Add significant value.
These opportunities go beyond what is already done in WA and drive future prosperity. It is not business as usual – they need to deliver.
3. Require true collaboration.
Each opportunity is supported by collaboration – across different players in the economy, including government, business, community and education.
It’s time to make waves!
WA stand to gain in the growing supply chain for lithium batteries.
As global demand for batteries increases, driven by increasing penetration of electric vehicles, WA is in an excellent position with a significant natural endowment of many of the critical elements of modern battery chemistry.
The State already benefits from the direct export of lithium (spodumene), but the opportunity is much larger. WA has the chance to improve its raw mineral offerings and gain more value from the global battery industry. It plays to our geographical proximity to Asia, a unique combination of battery inputs and existing chemical processing capabilities. WA can become a crucial player in the global battery supply chain.
Next, hydrogen is rising as a possible next fuel source to provide the power to sustain vehicles and industry of the future. The possible global market is significant, driven by Japan’s recent decision to prioritise hydrogen.
WA’s competitive advantage is its ample supply of natural gas and great potential to utilise renewable power to generate hydrogen through electrolysis. While the commercial viability of the technology is a bit over, WA now needs to position itself as it becomes a future leading manufacturer of hydrogen.
The Space Industry is emerging as one of the most lucrative industries globally and is going through a transformation, with a growing private sector interest in the possibilities. With the recent SpaceX launch and Elon Musk at SXSW talking about the Mars colony it’s quite topical.
Space infrastructure is now vital to our modern lives; We all rely on GPS and communication in our daily lives and take for granted space’s crucial role in national security. With this growing interest comes exponential growth in satellites and space activities – all of which must be managed.
With the creation of the Australian Space Agency comes an excellent opportunity for WA to strengthen our space. WA can use the existing ground-based space infrastructure, clear air, radio silence and our relative isolation, to play an excessive role in the space industry.
Education is Australia’s third largest export and growth rate with breakout speed, but WA has not made the most of the supply we have available.
There is an opportunity to develop a ‘finishing school’ and other new product offerings for the world’s top students.
Cooperation between education providers and industry will allow students to combine technical training with real-world experience in technology-driven global resource companies. It can serve as a catalyst for attracting a more significant share of international students, who see the benefits of studying in Western Australia.
To profit on the technological legacy of the resource boom by practising it in other areas.
In WA, we have some unique experience in the improvement and exploitation of technology for remote and independent asset control. This legacy is an in-demand capability, and we can take to the world. A local ecosystem of data specialists, software engineers and industry experts and a highly suitable testing environment can see WA becoming a technology hub for digital operations.
This ability can be applied to agriculture, transport networks and beyond.
Now we need to work together on the business, government and community to provide the opportunity to ensure our prosperity and create future work for all Western Australians. This means that the right people come together to build on the work that has already been done, to identify the new economic opportunity and overcome the obstacles to success.
We need an action plan to inform policy changes, support infrastructure, attract capital, develop talent and manage a new story for Western Australia.
How will you take hold of the future opportunities in Western Australia and see your business’s full potential realised?
Our team at Fortix is ready to support you on your journey to success in a Die-Hard WA!
Connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.