About Diversify WA

Fact sheet
An economic framework for WA fact sheet.
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The documents below include information about the WA Government's vision for a strong and diverse economy delivering secure quality jobs.


About Diversify WA

Diversify WA is the state’s economic development framework. It sets out initiatives, actions and strategies that will contribute to achieving its vision for “a strong and diversified economy delivering secure, quality jobs through increased investment across a broad range of industries”. It also identifies priority sectors for strategic development that match WA’s unique strengths with global trends to achieve growth across the economy.

WA’s energy sector is in the midst of a transition towards cleaner energy sources. The global trend of decarbonisation has gained significant momentum over the past year, which has presented a major opportunity for WA to secure new investment into its emerging clean energy industries. 

The WA Government has supported the state’s energy transition by establishing the strategic frameworks and infrastructure needed to enable growth, whilst also diversifying the energy sector through investment and increasing industry capability in renewable energy sources. Work is also underway to develop technology that supports energy affordability, improves energy system reliability and contributes to long-term emissions reduction, consistent with the WA Climate Policy released in November 2020. This includes, among other initiatives, investments in wind farms and standalone power systems.

The Renewable Hydrogen Strategy and the Future Battery Industry Strategy were both launched in 2019. These strategies set out the state’s approach to becoming a significant producer, exporter and user of renewable hydrogen, future batteries and critical minerals. The development of these industries will provide substantial input and technologies for industry and communities, in both decarbonisation and new economic opportunities.

Significant progress has also been made in WA’s domestic energy sector. The WA Government’s Energy Transformation Strategy, launched in 2019, is leading the way in enabling the integration of more renewables and new technologies into the power supply chain. Key components of this strategy have also been launched, including the Whole of System Plan and the Distributed Energy Resources Roadmap, which ensure a structured and coordinated approach to investing in, and increasing the capacity of, the state’s power system.

Tourism, events and creative industries

Efforts to build the tourism, events and creatives industries were impacted significantly by the COVID-19 pandemic. The necessary public health measures of travel restrictions and venue capacity limits had immediate and profound impacts upon businesses and operators in the tourism, events and creative industries, forcing many to cease operations entirely.

Recognising these impacts, the WA Government implemented a number of support measures to enable businesses to survive and adapt. This included more immediate measures, such as the $14.4 million Tourism Recovery Program to support businesses to survive the new tourism landscape and $76 million allocated to the arts and culture sector through the WA Recovery Plan, including the $9 million ‘Getting the Show Back on the Road’ shared risk package.

Collectively, the WA Government’s measures have provided the structural frameworks to enable the survival and sustainability of the tourism, events and creative industries. Despite this support, it is acknowledged that the sector will continue to struggle until there is certainty around interstate and international travel.

International education

Before the emergence of the COVID‑19 pandemic, the WA Government launched ‘Where
Bright Futures Begin: International Education in Perth, WA 2018-2025,’ which articulated its
commitment to enhancing WA’s reputation and ranking as a world‑class international education destination. Indicators demonstrate that the international response to the state’s renewed focus on international education was promising, with enrolments increasing by 3.4% in 2019, after falling in 2017 and 2018. 

However, these early successes were significantly undermined by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Key challenges resulting from the pandemic, including travel restrictions,  shifting economic and social priorities, and a changing geopolitical landscape have resulted in international education providers experiencing a large decline in new enrolments, affecting their viability.

To strengthen and build the international education sector, the WA Government launched the WA International Education Recovery and Renewal Plan to support the sector to reposition, recover, build capability and adopt new models of delivery going into the future. Initiatives within the WA International Education Recovery and Renewal Plan have been designed to support local providers and onshore international students, as well as facilitate offshore delivery to build the pipeline of future onshore enrolments. 

The WA Government is working closely with the state’s international education sector to prepare for the return of international students when conditions allow. This includes work to develop an offshore marketing strategy to raise awareness and increase consideration of WA as a preferred study destination.

Defence industries

The development of WA’s defence industry has been guided by the WA Defence and Defence
Industries Strategic Plan, released in October 2018. The strategic plan provides direction across 6 key strategies to enable WA to be a key player in the national and international defence  industry, and is supporting the state to become the principal location for the delivery of all maintenance and sustainment requirements for Australia’s vessels.
Targeted investment has drawn on the state’s key comparative strengths and capabilities, and built on capability requirements within the WA defence sector that are transferrable and can be
leveraged to build on opportunities and advancements in other priority sectors. This includes investment of $87.6 million in the Australian Marine Complex (AMC) to enable it to accommodate larger classes of naval vessels and create greater connectivity and resilience across the complex. 

Production pressures have been felt by the industry as a result of COVID-19. In response, the WA Government has focused efforts on building defence industry capability, including targeted incentives for apprenticeships and small businesses to grow the defence workforce pipeline and support more SMEs to join the sector.

Mining and METS

The mining sector has played an integral part in keeping WA in a strong economic
position throughout the pandemic. The continued operation of the resource industry, 
supported by the WA Government, ensured the construction of new mines and sustained
export production. 

The production of key commodities, including iron ore, alumina, gold and nickel, has led to
an extraordinary increase in the value of the state’s mining sector in recent years. Since
2006, the value of the WA mining industry has increased from $32 billion to $148 billion.
The global economic recovery from the pandemic has led to significant increases in
commodity prices and record sales values for WA’s mining sector. This has been supported
by investments from the WA Government to sustain growth in mining and METS, including
funding to support exploration activity, enhance the state’s research and development
capability and develop new industries. The state’s mining industry provides substantial
direct and indirect employment, and supports a number of new and existing downstream and
service industries.

The METS sector in WA is estimated to account for about 30% of the national industry, adding
an estimated $27 billion to the state’s economy in 2018. There are approximately 27,000
specialised METS sector companies in WA.

Space industries

The global and national space sector is growing rapidly and presents significant opportunities for WA. The state has significant geographical, technical, research
and infrastructure advantages and capabilities to leverage investment and grow a worldleading, thriving space industry. 

Currently, there are more than 70 international and Australian companies operating in space and space-related services in WA. The state also hosts space infrastructure for civil and defence applications, space-related facilities and institutions and university research programs.
The WA Government has made significant investment to assist industry to build capability
to support the space sector, and to promote WA as a world-leader in space technology
and research. This includes development of the Australian Automation and Robotics
Precinct in Neerabup, establishment of the Space Automation, Artificial Intelligence and
Robotics Control Complex and Australian Space Data Analysis Facility, and construction
of a specialist Space Science Education Centre at Joseph Banks Secondary College in
Banksia Grove, to support development of the future space workforce.

Health and medical life sciences

The WA health and medical life sciences sector has experienced significant growth in recent
years. The sector presents opportunities to further build WA’s established expertise in 
high need areas including medical research, new gene technologies, phenomics, medical
technology, long-term population health studies, data linkage and digital health solutions.
The WA Government is committed to continuous improvement in health outcomes, to create
jobs and diversify the economy. The WA Government repurposed its $1.3 billion state sovereign wealth fund to create the WA Future Health Research and Innovation (FHRI) Fund, allowing interest earned to be directed through the FHRI Fund Strategy (2020-2022) to WAbased health and medical research, innovation and commercialisation, for perpetuity. The
state has also secured the National AusBiotech conference, Australia’s largest life sciences
conference, to be held in Perth in 2022. 

The WA Government works with and supports the associated research and innovation
pursuits of WA’s 5 universities, and its worldleading WA-based medical research institutes –
the Telethon Kids, Harry Perkins, Lions Eye, and Perron institutes – to build health and medical research capability in the state. Targeted support for health innovation and research
centres is also provided, including support for the Australian National Phenome Centre, an
initiative led by Murdoch University to support the development of personalised medicine.
The state has also invested $1.2 million over 4 years from the New Industries Fund into the
$3.2 million MTPConnect WA Life Sciences Innovation Hub.

Primary industries

WA’s primary industry sector is a strong contributor to the state’s economic diversification. In 2020, agriculture was WA’s second major export industry, with the state exporting around 80% of its agricultural production. The sector is supported by strong international trading relationships, with WA supplying over 150 international markets. Primary industries exports continue to be dominated by raw commodities (over 70% of exports are raw) with limited post‑farmgate value-adding. The 2020‑2024 Primary Industries Plan, released in November 2020, aims to support the growth of increasingly sophisticated and globally competitive primary industries to increase the diversity of the sector.

Border closures continue to impact the movement of workers both from across Australia and overseas. The WA Government is working closely with the Australian Government to support the sector with measures such as the International Freight Assistance Mechanism, a targeted support program to keep global air links open in response to the ongoing effects of the
COVID-19 pandemic. Indicators illustrate that whilst some of the impacts of COVID‑19 and
trade restrictions have been mitigated by the transition to alternate freight mechanisms
and new international markets being identified, there continues to be an ongoing impact to the sector.