Discussion paper

Drivers and shapers of economic development in Western Australia in the 21st century

15 Sep 2000

The last half of the century has seen massive changes in the global economy which have, in turn, driven transformations in the Western Australian economy. Some industries, like whaling, have disappeared. Others, like the wool industry, are shadows of their former glory. The resources boom and North West Shelf developments are among a range of new activities that have supported wealth creation over recent years, whilst the global information and communications technology revolution is enabling further change by transforming how business is conducted.

The 21st Century will bring with it new drivers and shapers of demand that will result in further changes to the Western Australian economy. In order to manage these forces we need to develop policies which address issues relating to the environment, sustainable development, global trading and competition, shifting patterns of demand, changes in demographics and in social values.

With this in mind, and in the context of globalisation and the emerging knowledge economy, TIAC has produced a discussion paper that seeks to identify and evaluate:

• the impacts on Western Australia of global trading patterns and the consequent structure of production in Western Australia;

• environmental drivers that will influence global economic development into the first quarter of the 21st Century;

• how the pursuit of sustainable development might affect future economic growth in Western Australia, given the pursuit of unsustainable development policies by competing economies; and

• the impact of demographic changes and changes in social values on the pace and direction of economic development in Western Australia over the coming decades.

This discussion paper is intended to provoke debate. We have sought to explore the likely positive and negative effects on industry in Western Australia, outline possible scenarios and responses and recommend options for future studies, which might assist the Western Australian Government to develop policy in order to optimise economic development in Western Australia over the next 25 years.

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