Western Australia’s Premier Mark McGowan – who is never one to miss an opportunity to emphasise his state’s importance to the national economy – had a field day today (11 October), as he announced the WA resources sector’s biggest year ever.
Resources delivered a record $210-billion in petroleum and mineral sales for 2020-21 and in doing so ‘powered the nation through Covid’, the Premier crowed.
“WA is continuing to do the heavy lifting for the Australian economy, as we have throughout the pandemic,” McGowan said.
“Our efforts to crush the virus quickly and keep our economy and mining industry open has not only benefited Western Australians but the nation more broadly, with WA continuing to provide the largest per capita financial contribution to the Federation.
“While the economies of the larger States are expected to contract given their extended lockdowns, the WA economy continues to punch well above its weight in supporting the nation.”
Sector created new jobs during pandemic
And the ebullient Premier wasn’t finished yet. “We resisted calls to shut down the resources sector at the height of the pandemic and these results demonstrate the significance of that decision,” he said.
“We have not only protected tens of thousands of Western Australian resources jobs, but created an additional 14,400 this financial year.”
According to the WA Department of Mines, minerals and petroleum sales grew by $38-billion, to $210-billion, from 2019-20 to 2020-21.
Jobs supported by the sector increased from 135,000 in 2019-20 to 149,400 in 2020-21.
“These results follow the State’s strong economic performance throughout the pandemic, where WA’s domestic economy has grown by 5.7 percent between the December quarter 2019 and the June quarter 2021,” the department said.
‘More than half’ of export goods from WA
“Western Australia accounted for well over half (56.2 per cent) of national goods exports in 2020-21.”
Iron ore sales reached a record $155-billion. Gold sales were valued at $16.6-billion, up four percent from 2019-20, while nickel sales were valued at $3.5-billion – the industry’s highest sales value in seven years.
Not wanting to miss the opportunity to have a go at Australia’s other states and territories, Mines and Petroleum Minister, Bill Johnston, added his voice.
“While other major mining jurisdictions suffered protracted shutdowns, WA’s miners operated and traded uninterrupted throughout the crisis,” he stated.
“The sector’s success in trading, largely uninterrupted by the pandemic, has enhanced our global reputation as a reliable and safe supplier, and is set to position WA with a significant competitive advantage as the world’s economy recovers.”