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Building the new Perth

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Building the new Perth

Building the new Perth

Building the new Perth

Two Feet & a Heartbeat is proud to be a part of The Big Picture.
Taken from “Building the new Perth”

THE once-in-a-generation transformation happening across our city will demand a staggering 28,000 employees.

Treasurer Mike Nahan says Bigger Picture projects like the new Perth stadium are providing vital jobs for West Australians. “The construction activity in the resources sector is slowing up – it’s not coming to an end (but) it’s slowing up,” he said.

“We’ve had tremendous growth and jobs in the construction resources sector but all good things slow up. Thankfully, a large number of the people who are leaving the resources sector can find jobs in the urban sector.

“The developments the State Government is behind – whether it’s Elizabeth Quay, the Perth City Link or the children’s hospital – will create 28,000 jobs.” The Perth Children’s Hospital alone will create 8000 new jobs. The Perth Stadium another 5700 new jobs. The Gateway WA airport freight link – 7000 new jobs. The Perth City Link – 3100 new jobs.

So far, more than 1000 companies have already been engaged in building the new Perth. Along with Elizabeth Quay (400 new jobs) and the Riverside waterfront project in East Perth (2000 new jobs), the Barnett Government is investing $4.2 billion in these Big Picture developments.

Mr Nahan said the big Government projects were one of the reasons jobs growth in WA was still “very high”.

“The latest data shows job growth over the past year (to February) has been 2 per cent, which is phenomenally high,” he said. This is the second highest rate of employment growth of any state after Tasmania (3.1 per cent). It is double the rate of growth nationally (1 per cent) over the same period. WA also has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation (5.2 per cent compared to a national average of 6.1 per cent). You will simply see jobs coming from different areas. There will be fewer jobs in the mining sector – but the growth will still be there.”


In the past, if you weren’t a mining engineer then you left Perth. Simple as that.

“I remember when I used to teach Economics and Finance… all the young graduates, especially the better students, left to Sydney, Melbourne, Hong Kong or London,” Treasurer Mike Nahan said.

“If you weren’t a mining engineer you left. We’ve reversed it. Perth is no longer Dullsville and now young people from around the world are actually coming to Perth to get jobs as lawyers, accountants, business analysts and IT specialists – as well as mining engineers. For the first time, we’re attracting young people to stay and come to WA. Perth is the place to be, it’s no longer Sydney or Melbourne.”

Hilbert resident Patience Chakombera migrated from Zimbabwe to Perth four years ago with her husband Timothy and two sons. Ms Chakombera, 32, is in her second year studying Nursing at Edith Cowan University.

“There’s definitely a lot of opportunities coming up at the new Perth Children’s Hospital,” she said. “A lot of nursing students, including me, want to work there. You learn a lot from these advanced hospitals and it gives you room to grow as well.”

Ms Chakombera said there were “a lot of opportunities” at the recently opened Fiona Stanley Hospital in Murdoch too.

Mr Nahan said it was crucial WA retained the families it attracted during the boom.

“We need to retain the people we’ve attracted here in the past 10 years,” he said. “One of the ways to do that is to make the place they live vibrant and interesting, whether that’s building better links to the airport or entertainment facilities like the Perth Stadium, or hospitals and schools.”

Naomi Mayaka, 26, migrated from Kenya in 2012 to study Nursing at ECU.
“I came to Perth to look for a better future,” the Ballajura resident said. “There are better universities here than the ones back home and with the new hospitals there will be more job opportunities for nurses. I would love to work at Fiona Stanley or the Perth Children’s Hospital. We are just waiting to pounce on them (graduate programs).” Ms Mayaka said her “future” was in Perth. “It’s a good place,” she said. “The people here are supportive and friendly. My big sister is a nurse as well, she works at Abbotsford Private Hospital (in Leederville).”

Treasurer Mike Nahan said it was significant WA was now the “head office” of many major companies.

“We’ve attracted the head office of all the major resource firms in Australia – BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Chevron, Woodside – they’re all here and no longer in Melbourne like 10 years ago. They manage regional and world activities and they will remain. It’s Melbourne’s loss and our gain.“A whole raft of senior decision makers in all those resource firms are based in WA. Twenty years ago we had no head offices.”

In the past, Mr Nahan said WA businesses would even turn to the Eastern States if they needed lawyers or accountants. “Now, we’re the resources centre for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean region. For example, when miners want to develop something in Africa they come here for the labour and expertise. This transformation is being driven on the back of China, our largest trading partner.” Mr Nahan said WA wasn’t just “keeping more” of our talent, but was attracting “huge numbers” of experts from overseas. We are a young and vibrant state, the Bigger Picture campaign is designed to broaden the economy and make Perth an attractive place to stay and live,” he said.

“It’s been needed for a long time. One of the major changes in the past is there hasn’t been a large number of people moving from interstate on a permanent basis to WA. What’s been profound in recent years is we’ve had record population growth, with most of the migrants from Europe or Asia.”

Diarmuid Moriarty and his team at Reinforced Earth have supplied retaining walls for the Gateway WA project. Irish-born Diarmuid Moriarty, who recently became an Australian citizen, is one of 950 people currently working on the Gateway WA project.

The state’s biggest road infrastructure project, which will require 165km of roadworks, will deliver an efficient road and bridge network to the new Perth Airport precinct and surrounding areas. Leighton Contractors and Georgiou are two of the well-known companies working in partnership with Main Roads on the job. There are also plenty of smaller WA-owned companies that are part of the development, like retaining wall designer and supplier Reinforced Earth.

“The project is going really well,” Mr Moriarty, Reinforced Earth’s project manager for Gateway WA, said.
This is the biggest project I’ve ever worked on and I’ve learnt loads from this experience We’ve supplied 24,000 sq m of precast mechanically stabilised earth panels, used for bridge abutments and retaining walls, and supplied 2000 sq m of temporary wall for the staged construction works. We’ve also got 3000 sq m of precast concrete panels to deliver.”

Mr Moriarty said their work was “running ahead of schedule.”
Reinforced Earth won the $8 million contract in November 2013.
“This is the biggest project I’ve ever worked on and I’ve learnt loads from this experience,” Mr Moriarty said.
“It’s great because you get to work with the best. Recently married in Perth, Mr Moriarty transferred jobs from Reinforced Earth’s head office in Sydney to Perth so he could work on the project. We were hoping to win the Gateway job, so I came over for that,” he said. “The quality of life is great and much less hectic than Sydney.

“I have access to world class facilities, including the University of WA – where I’m currently studying a Masters degree in business administration.” Ms Moriarty met his wife, Eva Wangai, in WA. “She’s Kenyan and came here five years ago to study commerce and supply chain management at Curtin University,” he said. “She is now working with Linfox Logistics.”

WA Treasurer Mike Nahan said Australia was a “high wage country”.
“To be competitive we have to be very productive and we do that through innovation,” he said.
“One of the things I’ve been impressed with in the past 10 years is the amount of innovation going on. Virtually every project since 2008… has come on budget and on time, in part due to good management, innovation and delivering activity.”

Mr Nahan said good examples of innovations were driverless trucks in the mining industry and the streamlined development of high rise building.

“Before it would take 12 months to build a six storey building,” he said.

“We can do this now in two months. We’re not only able to build them quicker (but) we can reduce the waste from the construction project by building a large amount of a project in a factory.

“The amount of IT and technology in WA’s new hospitals is transformational and will save lives.”

Respiratory physician Annette McWilliams left Perth in 2000 after training at Sir Charles Gairdner and Royal Perth hospitals.

“After I completed my specialist training I went to Vancouver in Canada to do a clinical research fellowship for two years and ended up staying there for 12 years,” the mother-of-two said.

She worked at the British Columbia Cancer Agency, British Columbia Cancer Research Centre and Vancouver General Hosptial.

Perth always had a special place in her heart, but it was Fiona Stanley Hospital opening in our southern suburbs recently that helped lure her home.

The former Mercedes College student is now the Head of Service for Respiratory Medicine at FSH.

“I grew up in Perth and my family are here,” she said.

“I lived in Canada for 12 years and met my husband Dave there.

“We have two daughters, nine-year-old Kate and six-year-old Beth

“I was interested in returning to Australia to bring back some of the skills I had learned in Canada. I had heard about FSH and applied for a job in 2012 when positions became open.

“I understood that FSH would be a comprehensive cancer centre and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to return, join the team here and be part of an exciting new state of the art hospital and an expansion of the lung cancer service in Perth.”

Dr McWilliams said the opening of FSH, with programs developed by colleagues at other hospitals, would mean Western Australia had “comprehensive clinical and research opportunities in the field of lung cancer”.

This would encourage young physicians from interstate and internationally to visit Perth for fellowships and further training.

“We have commenced a comprehensive advanced diagnostic and treatment service at FSH for patients with suspected or known lung cancer,” Dr McWilliams said.

“This program incorporates the latest techniques for minimally invasive diagnosis, staging and treatment of early and advanced lung cancer and other cancers involving the thorax.

“We are excited about establishing and expanding this program and collaborating with colleagues at SCGH and RPH to offer a streamlined service to patients across the metropolitan health service in this area of significant clinical need. We are also excited to be working with scientific colleagues on a number of grant proposals in the fields of cancer and airways disease research.”

Dr McWilliams said the pilot of an “early lung cancer detection” would be launched soon.


Tourism Minister Kim Hames said WA couldn’t rely solely on the mining industry for its future.

“The two big areas people continue to talk about are agriculture and tourism,” he said.

“There are already 90,000 direct and indirect jobs through tourism and about $8 billion coming from visitor spending in WA.

“It’s really important the state government puts funds into changing the face of the city and WA – making it a more interesting and exciting place to come to.

“It will keep people here and attract more people.

“It will put Perth’s name out there as one of the best and most vibrant cities in the world.”

In the past, 20-year-old musician Georgia Reed believed she would have to leave Perth to develop her talents.

But Reed, a graduate from the prestigious WA Academy of Performing Arts, says the increasing number of smaller live music venues offered plenty of opportunities to grow.

“There are so many new venues and bars opening up in Perth,” she said.

“There’s now more bars where you can watch live music, with a proper room for it.

“It’s good because it draws in people who wouldn’t normally go to music venues to see them.”

Reed’s career got a jump-start when she auditioned for popular TV talent show The Voice in 2012.

She performed Christina Aguilera’s Impossible to judges Seal, Keith Urban and Joel Madden.

“No one turned around, but it was a really good experience,” Reed said.

“Seal was telling me you’re going to be successful, you just have to remember it and believe it and one day your name’s going to be up in lights.

“Keith was really good – talking about my natural soprano, which was something he liked.”

Reed and her band regularly play at venues such as The Laneway Lounge, the Crown Casino Lounge and The Ellington Jazz Club.

“The Laneway is a normal bar that people go to and they wouldn’t even realise that’s where live music is happening. But it gets so packed and everyone loves it there,” she said.

“The atmosphere is great. Some of the new venues give off a really cool vibe, especially The Aviary – the sounds great.”

After graduating with an advanced diploma in contemporary music, Reed is currently working on her debut album.

She said it will be influenced by the new, pulsating Perth she had watched grow.

2000 ROOMS BY 2020

Tourism Minister Kim Hames said it was crucial WA had a plan to accommodate and cater for the influx of extra tourists flocking to our city.

“We’ve been short of hotels for a long period of time,” he said.

“In the past, its never been economically viable for hotels to be built.

“But we now have a target of just under 2000 new beds by 2020 and we are well on the way to achieving that.

“Our international tourist numbers are growing exceptionally well.”

WA Treasurer Mike Nahan said that during the mining boom sectors such as tourism and hospitality had been “pushed aside” because of high costs.

That was about to change with several major hotel developments underway.

Figures show Perth is one of the strongest performing CBD hotel markets in Australia.

And new room supply is essential to supporting WA’s growing Perth economy.

Mr Nahan also said the Barnett Government’s goal of adding 2000 hotel rooms to the Perth CBD by 2020 was progressing well.

“It’s hard to be a tourism developer when you have no hotel rooms,” Mr Nahan said.

“We now have seven major hotels under construction.

“We also have a revitalisation of the Perth CBD, with the expansion of entertainment facilities that will allow tourist, recreational and hospitality industries to compete locals for internationals.

“This creates jobs, it helps to prevent competitiveness in the resources sector in the region and helps to grow hospitality and tourism both locally and internationally.”

There are currently nine projects and 1507 rooms committed to enter the Perth CBD market by 2018.

This includes the luxury five-star Westin Perth at the former FESA House site on Hay St and the Ritz-Carlton at the Elizabeth Quay waterfront.

The Towers development at Elizabeth Quay. The building farthest from the river includes a Ritz Carlton hotel.

A new Quest Serviced Apartments development on Mounts Bay Rd is due to be completed September this year. The location is near the iconic Jacob’s Ladder.

Mr Nahan said it was important that hotel growth matched the investment in tourist attractions, like the new Perth stadium and Elizabeth Quay waterfront project.

“It’s a package,” he said. “You have to build the hotels for people to come and stay.

tour boss Ryan Zaknich, who runs Two Feet and a Heartbeat, has watched Perth’s transformation from the ground up. “Before the miners had been taking them all up and there hadn’t been a new hotel development in 20 years in Perth.

“From six stars at Burswood (the Crown Towers hotel development) to four stars, we are now getting the full range.”

Mr Nahan said most of the growth in tourism would be driven by visitors from China and South-East Asia.

“They are very urban people,” he said. “They like to shop, go to restaurants and be entertained. If the city can’t cater they don’t come.”

Ryan Zaknich has had a particularly insightful vantage point to witness the new Perth spring up. Mr Zaknich is the chief executive of walking tour company Two Feet and a Heartbeat, which employs 12 people.

“About seven years ago there was a lot of negativity in the media and the general public that Perth was not that exciting,” he said.

“I’m not a huge fan of negativity.”

Mr Zaknich started his company to show visitors, and cynical locals, how great Perth could be.

In recent years developments and new events, like the three-day puppets spectacular known as the Giants in February, have made his job a lot easier.

“The Giants are now part of Perth history, and when things like that happen tours evolve and change,” he said. Ms Zaknich said his most popular tour was “around the small bar scene”.

“Another popular Northbridge tour in the day time is called, ‘Red lights to Restaurants’,” he said.

“This is aimed at introducing people who still have that stigma of Northbridge and taking them in on a Saturday at lunchtime to show them the history and heritage, with a little bit of food.

“We want to empower people to want to stay for dinner.

“We are trying to reintroduce them to Northbridge in a fun environment.”

Mr Zaknich’s favourite area of Perth is the Heritage Precinct.

“Down near Council House and the Supreme Court gardens… that’s where the city started from,” he said.

“That’s where the city as we know it spawned.”


WA Treasurer Mike Nahan said West Australians should be optimistic about the future.

He said economic doomsayers simply lived in a “different world” to reality.

“If you go round the world and look at what’s happening and then come to WA you can only be optimistic,” he said.

“Australia has the fastest population growth of all developed countries and that’s being driven by WA.

“Most people are coming from overseas and they’re coming to WA because of the lifestyle, economics and job opportunities.

“Yes iron ore prices have lowered and some construction jobs have come off.

“But we still have $50 billion worth of business investment underway, iron ore production is growing and LNG will be the state’s largest export in 18 months.

“I watch economies go up and down, but WA is by no means anything but a profoundly strong economy.

“It has one of the brightest futures in the developed world.”