Perth has well and truly left its "branch office town" tag behind and become a city that is globally and regionally integrated, and significant for more than just its minerals and resources sector.
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 UWA's School of Earth and Environment, helped produce the FACTBase report and 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," Professor Tonts said.
He said the study sought to find out what was different about Perth's current environment. "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 Perth had been dominated by international capital and a branch office economy well into the 1990s.
However, the increasing diversity of resources and the size and scale of projects had changed the landscape. Further, the heightened incidence of corporate control, in which companies from all over the world had relocated their headquarters to Perth, had driven large-scale change, including in 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 linkages.
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 Forum.
For more information about the In the Zone conference: www.zone.uwa.edu.au