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CEDA national poll: West Australians least likely to feel they have benefited from Australia’s record run of economic growth

West Australians were the least likely to feel like they have gained from Australia’s record run of economic growth, according to results from a national poll.

The WA results, being released in Perth today, are part of a major national poll commissioned by CEDA for the report Community pulse 2018: the economic disconnect. The poll explored who has gained from Australia’s record run of economic growth; their most important issues personally and to the nation; and attitudes to work.
In releasing the WA results, CEDA Chief Executive Melinda Cilento said they show, in line with the national results, that the community places a high level of importance on government services in areas such as health and education, in addition to placing high importance on areas such as tough criminal laws and sentences and strong security to combat terrorism.
“Overall West Australian respondents were more likely to feel like they have not gained, or don’t know if they have gained from Australia’s record run of economic growth compared to national results (61 per cent compared to 55 per cent nationally),” she said.

“WA respondents were the least likely to feel like they had gained from economic growth of all the states, with only 39 per cent feeling they had gained from economic growth.

“Australia has now had 27 years of uninterrupted economic growth but most Australians don’t feel like they are getting ahead, and that feeling is stronger in WA.

“Economic confidence and employment are now picking up again in WA. Despite this the transition from a mining boom that represented one of the largest positive economic shocks to the economy in generations has no doubt weighed on WA households. 

“How people are feeling about their current circumstances is likely contributing to the survey results, although given the significant economic growth in WA during the mining boom the results were still surprising. 

“We need to do better at connecting communities’ expectations and aspirations with the benefits of economic growth. 

“This will ensure there is support for the economic development and the reforms needed to keep Australia competitive.

“On the job front West Australians were more satisfied with their level of pay compared to other states (61 per cent compared to 53 per cent) and more satisfied with their work/life balance in areas such as flexibility to work from home and ability to take holidays when desired.”

However, Ms Cilento said West Australians are more worried that technology will replace them, with 16 per cent concerned compared to 12 per cent nationally. 

“While there is a higher rate of concern in WA, the majority of WA respondents – 70 per cent – would welcome new technology in their job, in line with the national results of 71 per cent,” she said.

“There are some sectors, such as mining where we are seeing more rapid and early adoption of new technologies compared to other sectors and that is probably what is coming through in the higher concern about technology.”

On the national issues of greatest importance, Ms Cilento said West Australians were in line with the national results placing greatest importance on high quality and accessible public hospitals; strong regulation to limit foreign ownership of Australian land/assets; increased pension payments; and high quality and choice of aged care services.

“The issues that rated as of higher importance to WA respondents compared to other states were tough criminal laws and criminal sentences and strong security to combat terrorism,” she said.

“The top personal issues in WA aligned nationally with reliable, low cost basic health services; reliable, low cost essential services; access to stable and affordable housing; affordable, high quality chronic disease services; and reduced violence in homes and communities, rating as of high importance. 

“Much like the other states, the expectation that government should provide the services fundamental to the quality of life in Australia remains strong.

“The area WA respondents placed greater importance on compared to other states was job security, which is unsurprising given the changing job market in WA following the mining boom.”

Read and download: Community pulse 2018: the economic disconnect.

Download:  Western Australia results 
Download: National results, CEDA’s report Community pulse 2018: the economic disconnect.

Data interactives

Explore key insights from CEDA's Community pulse report and check out our interactives. 

Report launch

Watch the launch for Community pulse 2018: the economic disconnect report.


About CEDA

CEDA – the Committee for Economic Development of Australia – is an independent, not-for-profit membership organisation.

We identify policy issues that matter for Australia’s future. We work to drive policies that deliver better economic, social and environmental outcomes for Australia. We deliver on our purpose by: Leveraging insights from our members to identify and understand the most important issues Australia faces. Facilitating collaboration and idea sharing to invoke imaginative, innovative and progressive policy solutions. Providing a platform to stimulate thinking, raise new ideas and debate critical and challenging issues. Influencing decision makers in government, business and the community by delivering objective information and expert analysis and advocating in support of our positions. CEDA's membership spans every state and territory and includes Australia's leading businesses, community organisations, government departments and academic institutions. The organisation was founded in 1960 by leading economist Sir Douglas Copland, and his legacy of applying economic analysis to practical problems to aid the development of Australia continues as we celebrate 60 years of influence, reform and impact across the nation.;