In the Zone 2011
Western Australia and the nations that share its time zone are no longer at the edge of international affairs but rather at its heart, according to the Chancellor of The University of Western Australia, Dr Michael Chaney AO.
In his opening address to the In the Zone Business Forum at The University of Western Australia today, Dr Chaney said the State's development as a global first-tier resources provider was just part of its growing importance.
"There is a much bigger role for Western Australia as we acknowledge the importance of aligning our thinking with the prominence of the Asian and the Indian Ocean regions, seeking to optimise our relevance and influence within the zone's political landscape," Dr Chaney said.
Dr Chaney, who is also the Chairman of the National Australia Bank and Woodside Petroleum, said interdependence was defining the world in which we live, with traditional boundaries fragile in the face of new global challenges and technology advances.
"In recent decades we have come to understand the importance of a collaborative and cooperative approach, based on mutual understanding and respect - not only to maximise opportunities for all parties, but also to maximize our contribution to global prosperity and global security," he said.
However Dr Chaney pointed out that conflicts regarding issues such as energy, supply sources and food security, and topics around governance, health and human rights would call for management of potential shock waves in economic and financial systems.
"But each time the kaleidoscope is shaken, we are provided with new opportunities to view things in a different way and reconsider our approaches," he added.
Dr Chaney said Western Australia and Perth would continue to develop as the epicenter of a global resource and minerals supply economy delivering the growth that has seen the global economic power shift to the Asian and Indian Ocean regions.
He said that concepts built on dialogue, equality and mutual cooperation were required to facilitate a benign and democratic future for the states and nations in the zone.
Dr Chaney pointed to events such as the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and Australian American Leadership Dialogue, both of which will be held in Perth for the first time later this year, as evidence of the major role Perth is playing on the international stage.
Dr Chaney identified a special role for universities in the new world, stating that the developments taking place would stretch intellectual capital and increase the importance of research universities.
"Richer collaborations between researchers and their colleagues in the more applied world will be the order of the day. The resourcefulness of human capital, enriched by investment in education, will be central."
Professor Alan Robson, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Western Australia, said In the Zone provided a unique opportunity to explore the potential of Western Australia.
He said a positive future across the region would depend not only on government-to-government or business-to-business networks, but through deep relationships developed through academic connections.
The In the Zone forum is an intensive one-day meeting of 100 national and international leaders from the business, government and academic sectors.
With the theme ‘The Geography of Global Prosperity', the forum provides an opportunity for discussion and debate about the increasingly complex global neighbourhood and key policy questions facing Australia and the region.
The forum follows the success of the 2009 In the Zone Conference.
Sonia Nolan (ITZ Media Manager) (+61 4) 01 034 103
Janine MacDonald (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 5563 / (+61 4) 32 637 716