Western Australia’s most senior decision-makers are using a GIS-based planning mega-map to ready the state for the next four decades.
Australian economic and social policy think-tank, the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia (CEDA), partnered with Esri Australia to construct the map exclusively for its ‘Inventing the Future: Shaping WA from 2010 to 2050’ discussion series.
Influential business, political and public service figures gathered in Perth last week for the final of 12 forums in the series, where they discussed the key issues – such as resource management, employment and infrastructure – facing Western Australia as it enters an era of record growth.
Esri Australia Western Australian business manager Tom Gardner said the map provided attendees with the geographical context behind the complex and wide-ranging topics being discussed.
“The ‘Inventing the Future’ series has raised important questions about how Western Australia will need to develop to meet the demands of the next 40 years,” Mr Gardner said.
“For example, with the state’s population projected to reach 3.5 million by 2050, we need to ensure there are enough hospital beds, classrooms, roads and ports – not to mention energy and water resources.
“The Inventing the Future map contains, in one application, the locations of major resource projects, demographic data, energy and water assets, and other important information on infrastructure.”
Mr Gardner said understanding the spatial aspects of the issues that had been discussed was crucial given the size and population distribution of the state.
“Western Australia is one of the world’s largest and least densely populated states,” Mr Gardner said.
“This means developing an understanding of where its assets are now, and deciding where they should be in the future, are among its biggest challenges.
“Many of the issues the state is facing – providing infrastructure, workforce distribution, resource management – relate to the geographical isolation and distribution of these assets.”
Executives from the nation’s top companies, high-level politicians, academics, policy-makers, and key community representatives have taken part in the Inventing the Future series since it was launched in July 2010, and ideas generated from the series are expected to have a significant influence on the policy direction for Western Australia.
Inventing the Future map can be viewed at http://ceda.nowwhere.com.au/ceda