In many other parts of the world, governments take a highly strategic approach to the development and marketing of industrial land, with a view to attracting investment and creating jobs.
In Western Australia, our approach is ad hoc and half hearted. Businesses seeking to invest in WA are confronted with too much red tape, requiring approvals from multiple state and local government agencies. Plus, there is no lead agency within government, or lead Minister, responsible for marketing and developing our industrial lands.
Across the Perth metropolitan area, we have a number of industrial precincts with enormous potential to foster innovation and create jobs. At Henderson, the Australian Marine Complex is already home to world class manufacturing, ship-building and defence technology industries, and has almost unlimited potential for growth. Bentley Technology Park is yet to reach its potential as an innovation hub. In the northern suburbs, the Neerabup Industrial Park remains only partially developed. In regional WA, the State Government has significant land holdings that could be repurposed and used to attract investment and create jobs.
The lack of a coordinated approach to industrial land is currently resulting in missed opportunities. Since 2003, the Australian Marine Complex has generated $2.3billion for the local economy and created more than 37,000 jobs. However, the existing ship lift capacity of 12,000 tonnes is making it difficult for WA to keep pace with future Australian navy and commercial ship requirements. A coordinated approach to industrial land would have recognised the need to invest in a state of the art 28,000 tonne ship lift, and the opportunities this would bring.
Western Australia needs an integrated approach to the development and marketing of industrial lands, with the objectives of diversifying the economy and creating jobs close to where people live. An integrated approach should also look to streamline the approvals process, making life easier for businesses seeking to invest in WA and create jobs.
A plan for WA jobs should appoint a lead minister and establish a single government agency with responsibility for the development, management and marketing of industrial lands in Western Australia, and the granting of all statutory approvals within those lands.
Sign our petition and download our plan for WA jobs here.