5 Minutes with Stuart McKnight - General Manager, Western Australia

Stuart has over 26 years’ experience within the property and finance industries.  Prior to joining MacroPlan, Stuart led the Urban Development Program for the Western Australian Department of Planning, which addressed residential, industrial and commercial land and infrastructure development across the state's high growth urban centres.  Stuart has established himself as a leading industry expert in; strategic urban planning and regional economic development, infrastructure coordination, feasibility assessments, infrastructure coordination, urban master planning and, policy research and development. Read below for Stuart's perspective on the opportunities and challenges facing Western Australia in the coming year.

What are some of the biggest challenges WA faces in the coming year? 1. Negativity from the 'bad' economic and fiscal news that we will get from the media. 2. Expectations versus reality – only one can be truly ‘managed’; but you can prepare for the other. 3. Finding value and opportunities. WA has been ‘living off the fat of the land’ to create jobs and wealth, but that won’t cut it any more. 4. Disruption is coming; well it’s already arrived for many sectors of the WA economy. But that can lead to a very positive cycle of renewal and innovation.

What are some of the greatest opportunities for WA in 2016? Retail development Education for domestic students needing to retrain/upskill and international students. Health and aged care Tourism (but we have a lot to learn)

How do you think Perth House Prices with fare in 2016? Dwelling prices will be flat in 2016 as a result of ‘lows’ in two fundamentals – low population growth and low consumer confidence.

What makes Perth an appealing destination for international investment? Western Australia is a global state, but Perth is not (yet) a global city. The real reason we don't have daylight savings in the west is that our biggest trading partners (and around 1.7 billion of the world's population) live in the UTC+8 timezone all year around. It is far more important for WA to stay in sync with our international partners than with the rest of Australia.

What effect will the opening of the new Stadium have on the sporting calendar? The Perth Stadium is one example of ‘catch-up’ infrastructure that helps put Perth on a level playing field with other cities. We look forward to many more ‘internationals’.

What are the key growth sectors for employment in 2016? All population-driven parts of the economy (retailing, health, education, human services, aviation, wholesaling, logistics, etc).  About 25% of the State's population arrived in the last decade, but we have been too busy building mines, rail and ports to have time to deal with all the infrastructure and services that people need.

The mining sector has seen a decline recently, how has this impacted the local economy? Confidence and housing prices - the decline is in mining construction, but the actual output of the iron ore mines has effectively trebled. Revenues to the mining companies (and to the government) are based on price x volume. Prices are down, but volumes are up so revenues/royalties are still high - just everyone expected more.

Will you be attending the ‘Black Sabbath: The End Tour’ at the Perth Arena in April? No, Black Sabbath is a bit before my time. Besides they'd never live up to an ACDC gig.

Can the Perth Wildcats take out the NBL Premiership this year? First, let us see if they can learn to play within the rules (ie. salary caps). Then, “may the best team win”.


About MacroPlan: MacroPlan’s experienced and qualified economists align their understanding of macro-economic forces with micro-economic variables such as geographic and industrial characteristics, demographics, labour market shifts, resource demand and commercial realities.  Contact Stuart McKnight, General Manager – Western Australia, today to discuss your property research requirements.