Western Australia’s economic future remains uncertain after the mining boom: study (The Conversation – October 19, 2016)


The mining industry will still be important to WA’s economy in the future and new growth is unlikely to come from other industries like tourism and agriculture, new research has found. A growing, and ageing, population is likely to drive continued jobs growth in the health and social services sector, and in education and training.

Our report not only highlights what industries might provide the most employment in the future but also what form that employment will take. We found work will be more precarious and with reduced hours.

In the latest state cabinet reshuffle, WA Premier Colin Barnett indicated that changes in ministry portfolios were aimed at supporting economic diversification outside the resources sector. The spotlight has been on the tourism industry as a potential new growth sector as the mining sector slows, with the premier himself taking on the role of tourism minister.

But the government might need to rethink these policy priorities to support the creation of secure work, in a wider range of industries.

Despite a fall in iron ore prices, the mining industry continues to maintain its dominance in the WA economy, contributing about 37% of the gross value added to the economy in 2015. By contrast, the agriculture, retail, and accommodation and food services sectors in WA contributed little or no growth in value in 2014-15.

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