Part 2: Capacity of the region to host a range of IT industries
This project aims to attract call/contact centres, and other small to medium size IT enterprises to the Great Southern region of Western Australia. There are great opportunities to attract new businesses and people to the region based on the ability of the new IT&T tools to enable "location independence" in the increasingly global economy. There is a growing demand for on-line information and a rapid uptake of the Internet and other technologies in rural Australia, with an enthusiastic response to new technology in the Great Southern region.
The Great Southern Development Commission (GSDC) was established by the WA Government in 1987 to promote economic and social development in the Great Southern region of Western Australia. It is directed by a community Board responsible to the Minister for Regional Development. As the lead agency for regional development, GSDC liaises closely with all levels of government, industry and community organisations concerned with economic and employment development.
For a region that is predominantly based on agriculturally production, IT&T presents both threats and opportunities for the Great Southern region. Responding to the challenge, in late 1999 the GSDC issued an invitation for a consultancy to be undertaken during 2000 to facilitate the attraction of a call/contact centres, and other small to medium size IT enterprises to the region. The consultancy was awarded in March 2000 to Tomw Communications Pty Ltd. As the consultancy progresses, material will be made available on the project web site at: http://www.tomw.net.au/gsr
A diversity of call centre types will be considered including higher value (profit)/lower volume customers having service level agreements in place. A multi function call centre could service a variety of local businesses and government such as Agriculture WA. Intensive preliminary training of call centre operators is available through the local TAFE College.
The region already hosts the Katanning Call Centre. This is a Telstra call centre, located in the town of Katanning.
The other area of the consultancy focuses on attracting, small to medium sized enterprises (SME) providing IT products or services. With robust telecommunications infrastructure and growing interest from the carriers such as Austar and Telstra, the region with its superb lifestyle is as good as any for attracting distance independent small IT businesses. One that was attracted to the region recently is developing digital positioning technology that will communicate more accurate information to farmers operating machinery. If successful this communication equipment will provide large costs savings in traditional broad-acre farming.
The Albany Gateway portal, one of the regions current IT projects, aims to result in a number of IT business attraction opportunities such as graphic artists, web designers, ISPís, training firms in e-commerce, and on-line transaction verification services. This is typical of the type of innovation that is occurring in a "switched on region." The portal and its underlying software known as WEB IT has already attracted attention at the international CASOC conference (Creating and Sustaining Online Communities) held in WA in March 2000, and at the Information Technology Online Workshop held by the office of NOIE in Sydney in April 2000. The gateway will be opened by Senator Ian Campbell in ALBANY on the 19th May as a great example of how to create horizontal web portals for community interest and business profit.
Design Correlations is an example of the high technology companies already based in the Great Southern Region. Begun in 1980, Design Correlations is an Australian owned company located in Albany. They specialise in making Numerically Controlled (NC)machinery and in particular the NC Plasma Cutter of which over thirty are in operation throughout Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia.
Western Australia is the largest state in Australia and covers nearly one-third of the entire Australian continent (2,525,500 km≤, 1 million square miles). Despite the size, the population is only 1,798,000 of which 1,380,000 people live in Perth (Western Australia's capital).
Perth is closer to Singapore and Jakarta than is Sydney.
The Great Southern region is an hour by plane from Perth, state capital of Western Australia, or approximately 4.5 hours by car.
The bays of the Great Southern region, are where the Southern Right and Humpback whales choose to give birth to their young year after year. It has one of the largest wine regions in Australia, gourmet , locally produced wood, art and craft products and spectacular wildflowers during the later half of the year:
Historic whaling town of Albany
the wines and wildflowers of Mt Barker;
the gourmet foods, forests and art of Denmark; and the rural farm areas and national parks further north.
Media Release: Australian Old Economy Companies Failing to Invest in Web Call Centers, 31 May 2000