WA Values Past and Present

Posted on: Tuesday, 15 September 2015 at 9:24:12 PM

The AICC(WA) and ECU Annual Executive Lunch for 2015 was hosted by Bankwest in an impressive setting.  State Manager WA, Business Banking Ms Donna Dalby welcomed the audience by showcasing Bankwest’s “In Good Company” series, highlighting the economic stimulus delivered by the BankWest banking relationship with WA enterprise.

Her Excellency the Honourable Kerry Sanderson AO, Governor of Western Australia delivered an inspiring key note address reflecting on the evolvement of values within Western Australia, and how these have contributed to Western Australia’s growth and evolvement.  Drawing on the past she provided a challenging vision about the changing nature of our values, and enquiry into the future values and skills that will shape the resilience of Western Australia into the future.

As Western Australia’s 32nd, Her Excellency was appointed as Governor in October 2014.  Her distinguished career in business and the public sector, particularly to the maritime industry as CEO of Fremantle Ports and as Agent General for the Government of Western Australia from 2008 to 2011 placed her in good stead to draw on the economic virtues that underpin the future prosperity of the State.  Through her leadership she now stimulates robust and much needed discussion about the growth and social values that are required by Western Australian’s to maintain and enhance the State’s international identity and competitiveness.

To set the context for her challenge, the Governor drew on the previous resilience that sits within Western Australian history, from Colonisation through to today.  WA has been defined by many attributes; its geographic isolation, vast distances and self-sufficiency. 

Our past has been built on a foundation of hard work and endurance, mateship, volunteering and philanthropy, the notion of a fair go (opportunity and tolerance), combined with invention and innovation to deliver settlement and infrastructure. 

The Governor called into question the extent to which other values will need to be developed further to prevail in a rapidly changing social and economic climate.  “Are the community values that have nurtured us so well for so long the same values that will drive our future wellbeing?  For example, how do we now see ourselves, and is this as part of a rapidly growing Asian economy?”  She posited that access to digitalisation, the extent of data and information, accessibility to instantly reach globally, and new industry development are all critical factors that will impact the shape and strength of our future values.

A strong passion emerged within the Governor’s speech as she called for Western Australian’s to engage more with our unique biodiversity and landscapes.  The natural environment is something that she would like us to both enjoy and protect.  Her Excellency is working to establish a foundation or friends association to engage more Western Australians with our national parks and environmental conservation.

Drawing on the research of IPSOS and the Committee for Perth, the Governor then discussed the family environment, lifestyle, and outdoor oriented activities that contribute to social wellbeing.  The research showed five areas of importance, where perception and demand run ahead of capacity.  These are as follows;

  • Affordability (cost of living)
  • Public transport
  • Economic (industry) diversity
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Aged care

The infrastructure and amenity to support each of these areas continues to develop, and concurrently the values that are reflected in our community are driven by each of these social concerns. 

The Governor was optimistic that innovation, agility and collaboration across industry will be the key enablers that will invigorate enhancements in each identified area.  She challenged that Israel’s success in entrepreneurial ventures, in particular the ability to commercialise, is a business culture that Western Australia should try to emulate, and that corporate philanthropy has a strong role to play.  She has a view that Western Australia has strong research capabilities, and that an enhanced knowledge economy must further complement sectors such as oil and resources, ICT, biodiversity and medical services.  Education in the STEM sector, as advocated by many including WA’s Chief Scientist, is an area in need of focus and attention.


From L to R – Professor Steve Chapman, Vice-Chancellor, Edith Cowan University, Her Excellency the Honourable Kerry Sanderson AO and Professor John Finlay-Jones, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Edith Cowan University

In concluding her speech, Her Excellency talked about Australian identity.  Commercially we are regarded for the quality of our product.  Our work ethic, inventiveness and creativity is highly valued and our corporate governance is robust.  We value cultural diversity, egalitarianism, justice,   resilience and buoyancy. 

The Governor cautioned that although these strengths are leveraged, the world is changing and there is no guarantee that such ideals will hold steadfast to underpin our economic prosperity.  However raising a consciousness and engaging in discussion on each of these traits will provide for any necessary adjustment. 

“We need to focus on future needs and ensure we retain the values which are important to us.  We have to get it right for our future generations”.


From L to R – Mr John Cluer, Chief Executive, Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (WA), Mr Geoff Morris, Director, LWP Property Group, Ms Pamela von Gruber, Director, ISSA - International Strategic Studies Association, Mr Gregory Copley, AM, GCHT*, FRCGS, President, ISSA - International Strategic Studies Association, Mr Piet Jarman, Managing Partner, Jarman McKenna Lawyers, Professor Margaret Jones, Director, Office of Research and Innovation, Edith Cowan University, Mr Stuart Silbert OAM, Solicitor, Retired and Board Member Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (WA), Her Excellency the Honourable Kerry Sanderson AO, Governor of Western Australia, Professor Steve Chapman, Vice-Chancellor, Edith Cowan University, Ms Donna Dalby, State Manager WA, Business Banking, Bankwest, Mr Richard Bator, Regional Manager, Bankwest, Mr Paul Kordic, Partner, Jarman McKenna Lawyers and Professor John Finlay-Jones, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Edith Cowan University


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