Profound challenges undoubtedly confront many sectors of WA’s economy: retail, hospitality and tourism, education, professional services and construction to name a few. The pathway back to growth will be fraught, but our story is not all bleak. There is great capacity for innovation in the WA business community. There is opportunity for the State Government to leverage its existing capabilities and rebuild value through its own activities in commercial spaces, in partnership with the private sector. Moreover, the State Government’s economic development policy Diversify WA provides a solid foundation to protect WA’s existing economic base and pursue new opportunities with our trading partners as they arise.
Strong partnerships together with a recognition of the value delivered by both the public and private sectors will be essential to the recovery effort. Co-operation, collaboration and policy borrowing between jurisdictions will also be vital. These unprecedented events will require innovative policy responses that consider different roles for public and private actors, new forms of partnership and commercial models. The Black Swan state may have closed its borders, but there’s never been a more important time for open, optimistic minds.
Jessica Shaw MLA BA(Dist) BA(Hons) LLB(Hons) LLM FAIE is the WA Labor Member for Swan Hills in the WA Legislative Assembly, chairs the Parliament’s Economics and Industry Standing Committe, and is also an Adjunct Professor of the Not-for-profits UWA.