WESTERN Australia’s economic expansion is structural not cyclical, according to the WA Department of Industry and Resources (DoIR) Annual Report 2006-07.
The report emphasises that the Western Australian resource sector is complementary to the vast demand coming from countries predicted to become the strongest drivers of global economic growth for several decades to come. This is according to the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia (CME).
The report has a strategic development focus aimed at addressing the challenges presented by Western Australia’s buoyant economic conditions.
• The value of production from the resources sector increased from $39.5 billion in 2005 to $48.4 billion in 2006.
• Capital investment in Western Australia surged from $9.1 billion in 2004 to $18.3 billion in 2006.
• The State’s economic prosperity, underpinned by the resources sector, has provided stimulus to new and emerging industry sectors.
The DoIR’s 2006-07 Annual Report outlined a number of challenges affecting the resources sector, including:
• Shortage of labour (particularly skilled labour).
• Substantial increase to cost of construction of major projects and new infrastructure.
• A significant reduction in the volume of natural gas available for sale to industry in the near to medium term.
The Annual Report outlines areas the DoIR considers Western Australia has historic opportunity to achieve significant benefit, including:
• Expansion in the Liquefied Natural Gas industry.
• Leveraging broader trade relations across the region.
• Promoting science and innovation building the foundation for high growth technology-based knowledge industries of the future.
The DoIR has also positioned itself to participate in a number of policy debates, including:
• The WA Climate Change Statement
• The State Infrastructure Strategy
• The Domestic Gas Policy
• The State Water Plan
CME responded to the release of the report last Friday in the West Australian newspaper, suggesting the Annual Report has highlighted the importance of adequate resourcing of the DoIR as one of the State’s most important agencies delivering key services and support to the resources industry.
CME also highlighted the Annual Report’s focus on exploration, and need for a long term strategy to ensure the renewal of the State’s resource inventory given the current and forward forecasted demand across most commodity sectors in Western Australia.