WA sets sights on being next life sciences hub


Western Australia is preparing to become a world-leading life sciences hub of note, announcing the formation of an Industry Reference Group to drive the development of a new five-year life sciences action plan.  

The Health and Medical Life Sciences Industry Growth Plan (the Plan) will provide a clear set of actions to stimulate and strengthen WA's life sciences industry, create jobs, support international trade and investment opportunities, and diversify the State's economy.

Following AusBiotech’s delegation to BIO2019, and visiting Israel, Deputy Premier and Minister for Health, Hon. Roger Cook MLA has claimed the opportunity to build upon WA’s competitive advantages. The Deputy Premier says, "We have a fantastic opportunity to further support our local health and medical life sciences industry which continues to deliver world-leading innovations that improve health outcomes for people in our state and globally.”

The Plan is being led by the Deputy Premier with support from the Minister for Innovation and ICT, and is being developed by the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation in collaboration with the WA Department of Health.  

A steering committee will provide strategic direction and advice on the development of the plan. It will be chaired by the Deputy Premier, and include the Chief Scientist of WA, Professor Peter Klinken AC, the Directors General of JTSI and DoH, and national industry representatives, Ms Michelle Burke, Deputy Chair, AusBiotech and Ms Sue MacLeman, Chair, MTPConnect. The industry refence group includes Dr Samantha South, Chair of AusBiotech’s WA State Committee, who will be providing expertise in commercialisation.

AusBiotech’s Sector Snapshot 2019 revealed over the previous two years, WA showed the greatest growth in the number of life science organisations (50 per cent), increasing from 119 in 2017 to 179 in 2019; the number of employees increased from around 16,936 to 22,763 (34 per cent).  

Development of the blueprint follows the McGowan Government investment of $1.2 million in the creation of a life sciences innovation hub to grow Western Australia's life sciences sector and support local jobs. The Industry Reference Group will develop the growth plan over the coming months and the final five-year plan is expected to be released in the second half of the year.