WA econ­omy strug­gling

Pilbara News - - News - Shane Wright

Aus­tralia has just en­joyed its 25th con­sec­u­tive year of growth with new fig­ures show­ing the econ­omy ex­panded by 0.5 per cent through the June quar­ter, but WA is strug­gling.

The Aus­tralian Bu­reau of Sta­tis­tics reported a surge in govern­ment spend­ing that helped drive the econ­omy over the past three months.

Over the past year the econ­omy grew by 3.3 per cent, mak­ing Aus­tralia one of the fastest growing coun­tries in the de­vel­oped world.

The last time Aus­tralia was in re­ces­sion, Sale of the Cen­tury was on the na­tion’s tele­vi­sions and peo­ple en­dured Bryan Adams’ (Ev­ery­thing I Do) I Do it for You as the num­ber one song for 11 long weeks.

Tony Bar­ber handed over his host­ing role of Sale of the Cen­tury to Glenn Ridge in 1991 and Aus­tralia has been growing ever since. Com­mSec chief econ­o­mist Craig James said there were no signs of Aus­tralia’s growth com­ing to an end.

“Far from it — an­nual growth has lifted to four-year highs. Aus­tralia has now notched up 100 quar­ters with­out a re­ces­sion,” he said. “The Nether­lands holds the record for the longest ex­pan­sion at 103 quar­ters.

“Over the next year Aus­tralia should pick up the gold medal for the longest eco­nomic ex­pan­sion of a de­vel­oped econ­omy.”

The fig­ures showed govern­ment spend­ing added 0.3 per­cent­age points to the over­all fig­ure, helping to off­set a sharp fall in non-dwelling con­struc­tion that stripped 0.8 per­cent­age points from the re­sult.

Among in­dus­tries, min­ing ac­tu­ally de­tracted 0.3 per­cent­age points from the fig­ure.

The best per­formed area was the pro­fes­sional and sci­en­tific sec­tor. There were big falls in hours worked across the econ­omy, re­flect­ing the softer jobs mar­ket.

But there was also a fall in per unit labour costs, sug­gest­ing busi­nesses made sav­ings on their wages bill.

While na­tion­ally the fig­ure was a good per­for­mance, the woes of the WA econ­omy were again high­lighted in the re­port. State fi­nal de­mand, which mea­sures the do­mes­tic side of the econ­omy, tum­bled by 2.5 per cent in the quar­ter.

Pub­lic spend­ing on cap­i­tal projects jumped by 34 per cent in the quar­ter but this was not nearly enough to off­set a 13 per cent fall in pub­lic spend­ing.

Do­mes­tic eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity in WA has now shrunk by 7.4 per cent over the past year.

Shadow trea­surer Chris Bowen said the fig­ures had been buoyed by a “one off splurge of govern­ment spend­ing”.

“The irony shouldn’t be lost on a govern­ment which rails against govern­ment spend­ing yet is now re­ly­ing on a surge in pub­lic ex­pen­di­ture to sup­port their so called ‘jobs and growth’ nar­ra­tive,” he said.

“On­go­ing weak pri­vate de­mand is one of the key rea­sons the econ­omy has shed more than 60,000 full-time jobs since the end of last year.”

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