Archive for October, 2008

Cluster ScoreCard – Perth Defence-Marine

October 17, 2008


Cockatoo has a Cluster ScoreCard which is basically an advance on Porter’s Competitiveness Diamond – we use it to objectively analyse a cluster, to highlight deficiencies, and to formulate Action Agendas.


This month we feature the Perth defence-marine cluster. It rates at 76.9 out of 100 points on an international scale of cluster performance – it compares favourably with other recent ScoreCards viz. Horticulture, Virginia SA (71.5), Mining Technology Services, Perth (70) and Advanced Manufacturing, Adelaide (70.2).


Key factor conditions underpinning its development are:

§ Longstanding maritime history centered on the Port of Fremantle.

§ The Two Ocean policy, whereby half the RAN fleet is located at HMAS Stirling (Cockburn Sound).

§ The success of the WA-based America’s Cup syndicate in the 1980s.

§ The establishment of the Australian Marine Complex at Jervoise Bay.


Its relative strengths are critical mass of local suppliers (9.7/10), growth prospects (9.2/10) and social capital (8.8/10), while its relative weaknesses are lack of threat (5.0/10) and governance structures (6.0/10).


Perth is a world-class location for defence and marine activities due to its deep water port, significant tracts of relatively cheap industrial land, and first port of call for international shipping services. Perth also has a well-developed road and rail system to the eastern states, and good air links to Africa and Asia.


It has two under-appreciated competitive advantages – 4 hours closer to Europe, Africa, Middle East etc. than Australia’s eastern states, and its geographic isolation provides relative security for defence installations.


Perth has around 370 firms involved in the defence and marine industry – which is greater than for Adelaide, and on a par with Melbourne. The marine/shipbuilding segment in Perth directly employs 2,500, and indirect employment is around 6,000. The defence industry segment accounts for a similar level of employment.


There are four major concentrations:

§ Australian Marine Complex (AMC) – especially marine engineering and construction companies.

§ Fremantle – home to 120 companies in the defence, marine construction and marine services field.

§ Perth CBD – head offices of large engineering construction companies, mining houses, defence primes.

§ Eastern Perth (Belmont, Bassendean, Bentley etc.) – major concentration of general engineering businesses, chemical companies etc. servicing the defence and marine industry. 


Further details are available at the Cockatoo Network –


Rudd lauds role of local government…

October 17, 2008


The first meeting of Australian Council of Local Government is to be held on 28 November in Canberra.

The Australian Government says it is an ‘unprecedented gathering of the nation’s 565 local councils…the Rudd Government’s next step in forging a new, nation-building partnership with local communities…the Rudd Government is committed to a new cooperative engagement with that level of the government closest to local communities…this initiative will give local communities a real voice in the future of Australia’s national infrastructure.’

The one-day meeting, for Mayors only, will address issues of national and local significance including:

§          Building national and local infrastructure to boost economic capacity and quality of life in communities.

§          Tackling immediate challenges facing major cities and growth corridors, including urban congestion, urban planning and design.

§          Steps towards constitutional recognition for local government. 

§          Developing Government’s new regional/local community infrastructure fund.  

The press release carries on a bit about how local government is central to the Rudd Government’s nation-building agenda, and that the Rudd Government is ‘reigniting the spirit of cooperative federalism’ and reaching directly to the level of government closest to the community. It also claims that this new partnership is the most significant step forward for local government since the 1970s. The ALGA is surely lapping this up – it provides plenty of ammo for local government to ensure it’s not snubbed in the future. Our thanks to Marilynn Horgan (Perth ACC) for drawing this meeting to our attention.

Green Precincts – YES!

October 17, 2008


The feds have just announced a new program that will interest a lot of members.


It basically involves funding for 12-15 projects across the nation – average of $1million – needs to cover both water and energy best practice technology. If you have anything to fit the bill, please contact us ASAP.


This will be a very competitive exercise. I have spoken to the Department and they want a site in which the technology can be displayed – hence remote and regional areas might be hard-pressed to mount a case.


We have a project identified here in Canberra. We propose working on 4-5 submissions across different states – a small fee is involved. We will work with the proponent to scope the project, merge our best practice angles with yours, and prepare the submission.


The link is


“Wrong Number – resolving Australia’s telecommunications impasse”

October 17, 2008


An interesting and timely critique of Australia’s telecoms policy was launched at the National Library (Canberra) in late September. Its author, Henry Ergas (Cockatoo member) is a world expert on telecommunications policy, with 30+ years experience as an OECD analyst, university professor and adviser to governments.  

The gist of Henry’s book is that since 1997 the federal government has tried to turn Australia’s telecoms monopoly into a competitive market – but after a decade, the result is underinvestment and services that are falling behind other countries. He highlights the fact that Optus, rather than developing its own network to compete ‘head to head’ with Telstra, now relies even more heavily on Telstra’s network. And Telstra’s investment in its heavily regulated public switched network has largely been confined to that required to meet regulatory obligations.

Wrong Number explains how we are in this mess. Henry’s basic theme is that the flawed regulatory regime has distorted prices, deterred investment and basically stimulated ‘privileged rent-seeking’ over genuine competition. He says the ACCC has made matters worse, by setting access charges below cost while extending the reach of regulation far beyond any reasonable bounds. As investment and innovation have stalled, government, rather than reforming the regulatory arrangements, has staggered from one poorly conceived half-measure to the next. In the process, billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money have been spent, with much of that money wasted.

Not surprisingly, we couldn’t spot any Dept. of Communications executives in the audience, although Malcolm Turnbull’s staffers were taking a keen interest in proceedings, as well as senior folk from DFAT, Defence, Productivity Commission, ANU etc. Henry’s critique has, in fact, been welcomed by many in other sections of the federal bureaucracy. The book is a tour de force because of the rigour and evenhandedness in which the policy failure is explained. Wrong Number can be bought on the Net for around $A42 – 230+ pages – the first 20 pages provide an excellent summary of the issues.  

The world is your oyster

October 17, 2008


TO MR R.F.BROWN – Hi, I am just emailing to see if you are still around and if I can give you a ring and have a chat regarding regional branding.

I am a director on our regional development board which is in the early stages of developing our regional brand AUSTRALIA’S SEAFOOD FRONTIER. I have been lucky enough to win a NUFFIELD SCHOLARSHIP which enables me to travel the world in search of world’s best practice regarding regional branding. Having found some information by you on this issue on the web I look forward to talking to you and your reply.

Best regards, Lester Marshall, Managing Director, COFFIN BAY OYSTER FARM, COFFIN BAY SA 5607
Mobile: 0429 855021 Email:


(We have provided Lester with contacts such as Food Barossa, and Michael Dimock at Sunflower Strategies in California. Feel free to introduce yourself to Lester – Editor)

Africa – from Caterpillar to Cocoon

October 17, 2008


At a recent Wharton School conference on Africa’s economic future, speakers referred to Africa’s past performance as akin to a “caterpillar” i.e. slow moving and easy to step on.

Today, Africa’s economy is in a “cocoon” phase – transforming from a resource-based economy to one based on innovation and private sector growth. Africa has enjoyed per capital income growth of 4.6% annually since 2002. But it requires changes in how it does business – groom management talent, recruit others to work in the region, do a better job of linking to global markets, and communicate its investment opportunities.

Go to “Africa’s ‘Cocoon” Phase: Can Private Investors and Entrepreneurs Transform the Continent?” Source: NDOE.

UK analysis re Innovation in Services

October 17, 2008


A new study via the UK Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform examines the drivers of innovation in five key service sectors – retail, logistics, construction, environmental, Internet-delivered content services.

These five sectors represent 25% of the UK economy, so innovations could have a huge spin-off effect. The study describes three big changes affecting service industries (1) The convergence of manufacturing and service innovation where many firms add a “service wrapper” (2) The growing role of users and consumers in the innovation process (3) Growing concerns about sustainability and the environment.

The study says businesses must innovate in all aspects of their operations. And government agencies must enhance investments in critical areas such as ICT and waste management, support advanced training in innovative business processes, and expand the availability of finance to smaller service businesses.

Go to Supporting Innovation in Services. Source NDOE (This 116 page report is a very useful treatment of the issues – Editor)

EDEN = European Destinations of Excellence (BEST PRACTICE)

October 17, 2008


EC Vice-President Verheugen (Commissioner for Enterprise & Industry) has awarded 20 localities with the title of “best local intangible heritage destination in Europe”. The European Destinations of Excellence awards promote venues where commercial success goes hand in hand with social, cultural and environmental sustainability.

Specific local intangible heritage such as local cuisine, handicrafts, local arts or village life were rewarded. The winners were invited to participate in the European Day of Tourism (7th October in Brussels) and to sign a declaration setting up the Network of EDEN destinations. The 2008 EDEN awards were held in Bordeaux as part of the European Tourism Forum. It included an informal ministerial meeting of EU tourism ministers. The EC says that the improvement of the quality of tourism destinations and services requires coherent action from private and public sectors.

Five examples:

Austria: Steirisches Vulkanland – rich in volcanic formations, thermal water resources, historic sacral & architectural monuments, folk art, and traditions in a characteristic culture of festivals and celebrations.

Belgium: Ath – famous for the Ducasse, a procession of giants, a parade of characters that have been gathering for over 500 years and draws visitors into a charming medieval festival.

Bulgaria: Belogradchik – myths, legends, even traces of ancient Thrace are waiting to be discovered by visitors to this ‘small white town’, situated in the foothills of the Balkans.

Croatia: Đurđevac – orchards, meadows and vineyards. The town’s historical, cultural and traditional heritage is based on the Legend of the Rooster.

Cyprus: Agros – ideal year-round rural destination that has developed its famous rosewater industry and offers unique opportunities to participate in celebrations of local cultural heritage and nature’s beauty.  

Facebook lured to Ireland

October 17, 2008


Irish Minister Mary Coughlan announced on 2 October that Facebook, the world’s leading social networking site, is to establish its international headquarters in Dublin.


It will provide a range of online technical, sales and operations support to Facebook’s users and customers across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. 


Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg explained, “After exploring various locations throughout the region, we decided Ireland was the best place to establish our new headquarters. As we grow and strive to make Facebook into a place for people around the world to connect and share information, we need local operations to better advance our efforts. The talent pool in Dublin is world-class…”


(Still no word about the level of subsidies being offered – Editor)

Tradition, Expression and Recognition: Creative Opportunities in the New West’

October 17, 2008


This is the title of an analysis of the creative economy of Sheridan and Johnson Counties in Wyoming.


Carried out by RTS under a contract with Sheridan College, the report describes the full scope and scale of the region’s creative enterprises. We found, for example, that more than 1,000 people representing almost six percent of the people earning a living there are employed in creative enterprises.


The two counties represent the best of the Old West art, with outstanding leatherwork, sculpture, visual art and historic sites. But the “Old West” image doesn’t capture the breadth of creativity in the region represented by New Western arts, the digital artists, designers, and artists from the coasts attracted by the arts community, the natural terrain, openness and wildlife.


The report recommends expanding the economic impacts of and opportunities for creative enterprises, including new roles for Sheridan College, The report is at


Contributed by Stu Rosenfeld