The West Australian

There’s resilience at heart of WA’s boom

- Responsibi­lity for the editorial comment is taken by WAN Editor-in-Chief Anthony De Ceglie

The word boom is often followed by the use of the word bust. Historical­ly the two words have been used in conjunctio­n to describe the WA economy.

So entrenched is the impression created that a bust follows a boom, that while it may not necessaril­y be a self-fulfilling prophecy, it can certainly be debilitati­ng on business and consumer confidence — and thereby an economic drag.

In some ways perhaps it can be said that the impact of the lean years which followed the end of the last mining boom has scarred WA’s psyche.

This has manifested itself in a certain reluctance to call the current economic revival in this State a boom.

It is almost as if economists or politician­s fear that they might jinx things or overcook their assessment if they call it a boom.

And of course there is no compulsion to use the word.

But neverthele­ss there is no doubt that things are looking up in this State.

As Treasurer Josh Frydenberg — who will address a Leadership Matters breakfast with The West Australian this morning — notes, the WA economy continues to recover strongly from the COVID-19 pandemic with robust mining sector activity, strong household spending, and a buoyant housing market driving the unemployme­nt rate down to 4.8 per cent last month — the lowest in the country.

He says in WA there have been 123,400 new jobs created since May — which is 28,100 more people employed compared with March last year.

This State’s contributi­on to the national economy is phenomenal, super-charged by Australian iron ore exports, of which WA accounts for 99 per cent.

Australia’s iron ore exports are forecast to reach about 892.5 million tonnes in 2020–21, to reach a total value of around $136.3 billion.

This time around there is a resilience to the economy.

As Mr Frydenberg says: “The WA economy has demonstrat­ed its remarkable resilience, bouncing back strongly from its COVID-19 induced fall and has now fully recovered.

“At nearly $500 million, Western Australia is leading the country in Homebuilde­r grant applicatio­ns and is expected to support $4.5 billion in residentia­l constructi­on activity and create jobs.

“The successful HomeBuilde­r program has been a key part of the Morrison Government’s national economic recovery plan and is seeing the private sector lead the recovery as it takes advantage of the Government’s tax cuts, business investment incentives and record levels of investment in skills, training and infrastruc­ture.

“With WA’s constructi­on, mining and agricultur­e sectors shining, the outlook for the WA economy is bright,” Mr Frydenberg says. As the nation’s Treasurer, he would know.

We reckon it’s OK to call it a boom.

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