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Western Australian resources sector shatters records with $132b spend

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By Colin Hay - 
Western Australia WA resource industry record spending

Spending by the Western Australian resources sector jumped 32% last year to a record $132 billion according to a new report commissioned by the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA (CME).

Data contained in the CME’s annual economic contribution factsheets show the direct economic contribution in the state had also increased significantly, surpassing $77b — the equivalent of almost $27,000 per Western Australian.

CME senior economist Aaron Walker said the resource industry’s economic contribution to WA accounted for approximately half of the state’s economic activity and capital expenditure and close to 90% of the goods exported.

Resource sector critical

“These figures highlight the sector’s current contribution to WA and its regions and reinforce the role of the resources industry in WA’s future,” he said.

“The survey results show that 15,508 individual local businesses, 1,312 community organisations and over half of WA’s 137 local governments directly benefited from spending by the industry over the last year.”

“That supports an estimated 340,000 full-time equivalent jobs across the remainder of the economy.”

Through the ripple effect, the WA resources sector supports three in ten jobs across the state and accounts for 9% of the nation’s GDP.

Major financial ramifications

CME chief executive Rebecca Tomkinson said the data confirming the contributions of the resources sector comes at a time of substantial federal reform.

She said if reforms weren’t managed effectively and industry not consulted appropriately, there would be major ramifications for the WA and national economies.

“If the federal government gets it wrong, it risks not only the ongoing economic contribution of the sector’s existing operations but also $93b in future investment projects and associated jobs,” Ms Tomkinson said.

The survey of 49 CME member companies found they directly employed 98,482 full-time workers and paid $33b in corporate taxes including company tax, FBT, PRRT and excise duty.

This represents 20% of Australia’s corporate taxes, equivalent to total spending on government and non-government primary and secondary schools in 2022-23.

The companies paid $14b in royalties, payroll taxes and other payments to the WA government, representing 33% of the government’s general revenue.