Premier; Minister for Tourism; Science
Member for Cottesloe
Since being sworn in as Western Australia's 29th Premier on 23rd September 2008, following the 6th September election, Colin Barnett has built a reputation as a decisive leader who has promoted the economic and social development of the State.
Mr Barnett was State Development Minister from 2008 until early 2016 and currently holds the Tourism and Science portfolios. He is committed to broadening Western Australia's economy based around the State's comparative advantages in mining, oil and gas, agriculture, tourism and science. Western Australia's natural resources, unique environment, enviable lifestyle and reputation for high quality education and research, have, and will continue to be, central to the Barnett-led Liberal National Government’s plans to continue to strengthen the economy and create jobs.
Mr Barnett's leadership has seen the transformation of the city of Perth and regional Western Australia. Large-scale infrastructure projects in the city including a major waterfront development on the banks of the Swan River (Elizabeth Quay), the sinking of the railway line currently dividing the city and its cultural heart in Northbridge, and the world-class Perth Stadium at Burswood, are realising Perth's potential as a major city in the Asia Pacific. Unprecedented investment in towns and national parks has significantly improved living, working and visiting the vast and varied regions outside of Perth.
Throughout his premiership Mr Barnett has been determined to ensure that economic growth supports all West Australians, especially the most vulnerable. Through an innovative social agenda Western Australia has lead the nation in the delivery of social services in areas like disability and mental health.
The Government has also implemented genuine reform in public schools and allocated $7 billion to rebuild the State's public hospitals, including the 783-bed Fiona Stanley Hospital and a new world-class children's hospital due for completion in coming months.
Reflecting Western Australia's growing importance as a leading regional economy in the Asia Pacific region and Indian Ocean Rim, Mr Barnett has been invited to speak at significant global forums including the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston, Texas, the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies at King's College, London and Mining Indaba, the world's largest mining investment conference, in Cape Town, South Africa. He warmly welcomes LNG18 to Perth as a symbol of the State’s importance as a major supplier of the world's gas resources.
In 2013, Mr Barnett led the Liberal Party to a second term in government with an historic increase in seats. The Liberals govern in an alliance with the National Party.
Colin Barnett has been the Liberal Member for Cottesloe since 1990 and was Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party and a senior minister in the Court Government (1993-2001) holding the portfolios of Resources Development, Energy, Education and Tourism. From 2001 to 2005, he was Leader of the State Opposition.
Colin Barnett was educated at Nedlands Primary School and Hollywood Senior High School. Despite an initial interest in geology, he switched to economics and holds an Honours and Masters Degree in Economics from the University of Western Australia. After a cadetship with the Australian Bureau of Statistics in Canberra, he later returned to Western Australia as a lecturer in economics at Curtin University (WAIT). This was followed by a stint as a visiting fellow at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom.
In his early 30s, he was appointed as an economist at what was then known as the Confederation of WA Industry. He also spent five years as executive director of the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
When he has the chance, he enjoys a game of tennis and sheep breeding on the small family farm.