PERTH has a great opportunity to diversify its economy by giving arts businesses a helping hand, says the latest report from the Committee for Perth.
While comparing and analysing Perth’s economic base, CfP research manager Lisa Kazalac identified the arts and recreation industry as one of the “bright lights” of the metropolitan area.
“Whilst the arts and recreation services industry only employs 1.81 per cent of the total working population in greater Perth, its employment grew by more than 26 per cent since 2011,” her report found.
During that period, the sector overtook professional, scientific and technical services in terms of its contribution to the city’s economy; an indication of the mining downturn.
Ms Kazalac says that’s an indication that the city’s economic base has been changing and diversifying.
“The future growth possibilities in this industry’s contribution to greater Perth’s economic base will need to be secured by policies that encourage start-up businesses, growing those businesses and creating a vibrant state where arts and cultural appreciation and activity is part of everyday life for all Western Australians,” she found.
But her report showed that despite the slowdown in mining, it continues to be the city’s most dominant economic driver, along with associated construction.
Because mining attracted research facilities, that made research and development another area that should be explored.
Niche manufacturing was another opportunity for policy-makers to explore, Ms Kazalac said, as tradition manufacturing had essentially flatlined because of globalisation and competition.
“Increasingly significant is niche, specialised and high-value manufacturing, where Perth appears well placed with existing capacity and new opportunities for food and beverage processing, defence and the [mining equipment technology services] sector.
“Developing and expanding the greater Perth economy to be more knowledge-based will be an important aspect to driving future diversity in the regional economy,” she said, while noting Melbourne is leaps ahead in this area.
Her report found that despite facing many technological challenges and changing customer behaviour, retail trade was proving a relatively resilient sector.
by STEVE GRANT