A report has confirmed Western Australia remains the country’s best economic performer, despite signs the mining boom is cooling down.
The CommSec State of the States report compares eight factors, including economic growth, retail sales, construction work and population.
CommSec chief economist Craig James says Western Australia ranked first in four of the eight criteria to again come first, despite the impact of falling iron ore prices on the mining sector.
“Really it’s a case of Western Australia first, daylight second,” he said.
“There’s so much on the ground. It’s going to sustain the Western Australian economy for quite some time.”
A multi-billion-dollar liquefied natural gas project pushed the Northern Territory into second place.
Mr James says the project is enough to push up the NT’s relatively small economy in the standings.
“Really, it does just get down to the Inpex natural gas project. It’s lighting a fire under the Northern Territory economy,” he said.
“Of course it has multiplier effects. You need demand for workers, you need the accommodation for those workers, demand for equipment – a whole range of things.”
The ACT was third ahead of Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales, with South Australia sitting just above struggling Tasmania at the bottom.
Mr James says New South Wales could rise further up the list.
“It does have the potential to increase further,” he said.
“[NSW has] stronger population growth in the longer-term average, an improvement in terms of the job market, and we are to see the early signs of an improvement in terms of new dwelling construction, particularly in terms of apartment construction in Sydney.”
Mr James says South Australia slipped in the standings and Tasmania remains weak.
“The real area of concern is the South Australian economy, which has missed out on the upgrade or expansion of Olympic Dam, and this is something that the State Government needs to focus on as well as the Federal Government,” he said.
“And certainly in terms of Tasmania, this is an area where the state and federal governments can act together.”
Mon Oct 22, 2012