Great news for the Western Australian economy, read the article below.
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PREMIER Mark McGowan has this message for West Australians: buy a house now because the good times are coming back.
Exactly one year after The Sunday Times heralded early signs of life for WA’s stagnant economy, the results are in — and they are conclusive.
Data released on Friday showed the State’s domestic economy expanded 1.1 per cent in 2017-18, a remarkable turnaround after plummeting 7.1 per cent in 2016-17 and four consecutive years of decline.
This week another big step was taken towards WA reclaiming its AAA credit rating when Federal Parliament enshrined in law the hard-fought $4.7 billion GST reform package, which The Sunday Times has campaigned for since 2014.
Nearly every month this year has brought news of renewed activity in the mining sector. Rio Tinto, Fortescue Metals Group and BHP have all announced new workforce-hungry iron ore projects and the State now boasts seven lithium mines, with a second $1 billion lithium processing plant on the way near Bunbury.
Mr McGowan said he had not felt more confident about WA’s economic prospects since sweeping to power early last year.
“Every day you are seeing good signs,” he said. “The confidence is back in WA. You can feel it, you can see it and certainly it is an improvement on where it was.”
Mr McGowan tipped a turnaround in the long-declining property market and a jolt to stagnant wages would follow hot on the heels of renewed business investment.
“It is actually a good time to buy (a house),” he said.
“I would encourage people. Prices are low yet economic activity is picking up and so that will inevitably be followed by (demand for) housing.”
The Sunday Times joined Mr McGowan in Wiluna on Thursday to visit the oft-maligned Paroo Station lead mine, where a $US150 million investment in world-first processing technology is set to bring the operation back to viability while eliminating environmental issues previously associated with transporting lead concentrate.
The Rosslyn Hill Mining venture has just received environmental approvals to expand and build an advanced hydrometallurgical facility, which will convert lead concentrate to bars without the traditional smelting process.
Lead is among the suite of minerals abundant in WA that Mr McGowan hopes will catapult the State into global leadership in the renewable energy sector.
To that end, his Government has set aside $5.5 million for a future battery research centre, but recognises that WA-made batteries are a long way off. “That would be a longer-term initiative,” Mr McGowan said.