WA economy has turned a corner: WA Premier, the Hon. Mark McGowan

The Western Australia economy has turned the corner from what has been a difficult period, Western Australia Premier, the Hon. Mark McGowan has told a CEDA audience.

“The Australian Bureau handed down the September quarter results, and we have state final demand growing for the second quarter by 0.9 per cent, and that’s the first time since 2013,” he said.

“That’s terrific news for all of those businesses, in particular small and medium sized enterprises out there that are not part of the export economy but rely on the confidence of West Australians. 

“With responsible financial management and a state government with the right priorities, I’m pleased to say that business confidence is returning in WA.

“The CCI Business Confidence Index has short term confidence at a three year high. 

“Seventy per cent of Western Australians are confident about the economic future that it will strengthen or at least remain the same over the medium term.”

Discussing employment, Mr McGowan said that the number of people employed in WA is two per cent higher than October last year, while WA has the highest participation rate in employment of any state in Australia.

“Unemployment was at 6.5 per cent last year, now it is 5.9 per cent and trending downwards,” he said.

“Western Australia has a lot to be proud of but we need to continue to improve.

“Whilst our economic fundamentals are sound, we still need to work towards diversifying our economy.

“We have to bring the budget back. We’ve got a plan to get back to surplus by 2020 and to start bringing the states debt levels down.

“I’m a strong supporter of mining, oil and gas, and agriculture, but…Western Australia needs to be more than just those industries because otherwise we are so subject to commodity pricing and also technology driving out blue-collar jobs, in particular out of mining and oil and gas.

“We have been working hard on carrying out that agenda. 

“We’ve created new portfolios: jobs and trade, prevention of family and domestic violence, defence issues, Asian engagement, and ICT – portfolios that hadn’t existed before.”

Other initiatives included a trip to China and Japan to increase tourism and attract students to WA, establishing a task force to build a new port in Kwinana, and plans to deregulate the tax industry to boost competition and fairness.

Also speaking at the event was WA Treasurer; Minister for Finance; Energy; and Aboriginal Affairs, the Hon. Ben Wyatt, WA Minister for Regional Development; Agriculture and Food; Minister Assisting the Minister for State Development; and Jobs and Trade, the Hon. Alannah MacTiernan and the Deputy Premier, WA Minister for Health; Mental Health the Hon. Roger Cook.