WA-Asia: 20 year relationship will continue
Posted : Thursday, November 01, 2012
The sorts of things discussed in the Australia in the Asian
Century White Paper have been happening in WA for 20
years, WA Premier, Colin Barnett has told a CEDA audience.
"Obviously Asia is going to continue to be a major part of our
future," he said.
As important as Asia will be, it will sustain the WA economy
into the future but not the Australian economy, and this is lacking
in the Asia Paper, he said.
"I hope Australia does not develop a false sense of confidence
that Asia will solve all of our problems," he said.
He added that the WA Government is looking to establish strong
government relations with Singapore and the Gulf States.
"Singapore is our entry into Asia," he said.
Premier Barnett said the differences between WA and the eastern
states are becoming more marked.
"WA is being pulled and pulled towards Asia …we are drifting
away from the east coast - that triangle of
Melbourne-Sydney-Canberra - in all sorts of ways and that trend, I
think, will continue."
WA is now so closely now entwined in international affairs and
trade that even small ripples have a profound effect here, he
"Even a month ago when we saw a sharp downturn in commodity
prices that, combined with the high dollar and the falling share of
GST revenue, just showed the volatility," he said.
On the mining and petroleum industry, Premier Barnett said it
was worth $27 billion 10 years ago.
"Today it is worth $107 billion and growing strongly," and "this
State's exports are 46 per cent of all Australia's exports," he
"I've always said Western Australia is not in a boom, what we
have is probably 20 or 30 years of strong economic growth."
In addition Mr Barnett said he is immensely proud, particularly
of the mining industry, for employing, training and giving a sense
of pride and independence to Aboriginal people.
"(There is) still a long way to go but we have companies in this
state employing hundreds and hundreds of Aboriginal people," he
"Those opportunities certainly weren't there or happening 10
While the current GDP per person in Australia is $64,000, WA's
stands at $93,000, he said.
At the same time, the State's population has grown by 32 per
cent in the last 10 years with 37 per cent of the population born
outside of Australia, he said.
"The diversity of this State is far greater on a demographic
basis than any other part of Australia."
Download speech (pdf)
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