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 said.
"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 said.
"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 said.
"Those opportunities certainly weren't there or happening 10 years ago."
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."