Mining brings economic growth to regional WA, QLD

Mining was a key contributor to Perth’s improving gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017–18, but the city requires “alternate sources of economic growth”, according to a report by SGS Economics and Planning.

This growth was driven by a boost in the health care, financial, and manufacturing, construction and mining industries.

In spite of this however, the annual report, entitled Economic Performance of Australia’s Cities and Regions, has suggested that Perth needs to find other sources outside of mining for economic growth, stating that the city had suffered “economic slowdown” due to the migration of mining workers to the eastern seaboard.

The city’s GDP grew 2.7 per cent in 2017–18, pulling the Western Australian capital out of its 2016–17 recession, that saw its economy decline by 3 per cent.

The last economic recession faced by the city before that was in 1990–91, when GDP fell by 1.7 per cent.

In contrast to Perth, where healthcare was the largest growth contributor (0.8 per cent) and mining a major contributor (0.3 per cent), mining was regional Western Australia’s largest contributor by far (1.6 per cent), while healthcare actually receded.

Despite this, regional WA was still cited as the slowest growing region in the country (regional Victoria and regional South Australia both suffered recessions).

In Brisbane, mining’s contribution was smaller overall than in Perth. The SGS report offered similar advice to Perth, stating that “a more diversified industrial makeup will be needed to overcome the cyclical downturn in mining”.

Brisbane achieved 3.4 per cent GDP growth in 2017–18, its highest since 2011–12. Finance and insurance was the largest industry for Brisbane at 9.2 per cent.

Regional Queensland mining towns such as Townsville, Mackay and Gladstone all outpaced Brisbane’s growth, driven by diversified sectors including mining, health care, admin, transport and utilities.

According to the report, “A wide range of industries contributed to this growth [and] it would appear that the impact of the mining bust on regional Queensland has ended.”