State of the State mostly good news but not all

Jan 24, 2022 | State News, Steve Thomas MLC

The Shadow Treasurer Dr Steve Thomas says that the latest State of the State report released by CommSec has highlighted to the strength of the Western Australian economy but also raised some concerns about the September quarter economics in WA.

“As expected Western Australia continues to have the highest economic growth of all the states as we continue to benefit from the iron ore boom that started in 2019” Dr Thomas said. “The price of iron ore has remained buoyant and is near double the long-term average today.”

“CommSec included state final demand plus trade in its calculation that showed our economy was running 37.3% above the average of the last decade, which demonstrates the strength of the current iron ore royalty boom compared to the boom the previous Barnett Government experienced.”

“This mass of royalty revenue is again driving our state forward and represents the greatest state income and state surpluses we have ever seen.”

“In addition, WA has performed well in employment growth and population growth, which bodes well for the future.”
Despite this good news, Dr Thomas said that the report was also useful in highlighted areas where the WA economy was underperforming and should be addressed.

“The report highlights that Western Australia had the lowest growth in housing finance and third lowest for dwelling starts, however this may reflect the end of COVID stimulus” Dr Thomas said.

“Of far greater concern is that overall construction work is well down, dropping 41% on our ten-year average. WA came in with the second highest drop in activity, only beating the Northern Territory.”

“We are three years into a massive mining boom that has delivered record income to the State Government, resulting in a $5.8 billion surplus last year and $15 billion over five years. No State Government has ever had more capacity to spend” Dr Thomas said. “We have also seen promises of Government projects throughout the state in response to the COVID crisis.”

Dr Thomas said that private sector construction was included in the lower figure, and that streamlining approvals was the best way to boost private investment.

“Obviously supply and labour constraints have impacted on the Government’s capacity to deliver on those promises, but to come in next-to-last highlights that more focus is required on getting projects delivered.”