WA economy leading the nation on COVID-19 recovery

Published on 12 October 2020

Western Australia's response to the COVID-19 pandemic has positioned the economy to rebound faster and stronger than first expected, with the State Budget revealing the local economy is expected to grow by 1.25 per cent in 2020-21.

In 2019-20, WA was the only State to record positive growth in the domestic economy, despite the significant impact of the pandemic.

The forecast for continued growth is supported by a range of economic indicators that have already returned to, and in most cases exceeded, pre-COVID levels, including household and business confidence, retail trade and jobs advertised online. Across most of these indicators, the pace of recovery in WA is leading the nation. 

Importantly, WA has also benefited from the strength of its resources sector with investment and production largely unaffected throughout the pandemic.

Employment is also tracking strongly after the initial impact of COVID-19 forced many parts of the economy to close resulting in job losses.

While there is still more work to be done, the State recorded its largest ever monthly fall in unemployment in August. 

As at August 2020, more than 71 per cent of jobs lost between February and May 2020 had been recovered. Almost 90 per cent of the fall in hours worked had also been recovered.

The resilience of the economy throughout the pandemic has been strongly supported by the immediate response measures included in the State Government's more than $5.5 billion WA Recovery Plan.

The comprehensive plan is supporting job-creating sectors including construction, manufacturing, tourism and hospitality, renewable energy, education and training, agriculture, conservation and mining.

Many measures in the WA Recovery Plan have already directly supported jobs and businesses, including:

  • a one-off $2,500 electricity credit available for small businesses and charities that consume less than 50 megawatt hours per annum;
  • $484 million in payroll tax relief for Western Australian businesses, including a one-off $17,500 grant for some small businesses, payroll tax exemptions and a four-month payroll tax waiver;
  • $20,000 building bonus and extension of the off-the-plan transfer duty rebate to kick-start the building industry;
  • a waiver of small business licence fees; and
  • rent relief for commercial tenants of government agencies.  

More jobs are expected to be created through the State Government's record-breaking Asset Investment Program, which totals $27.1 billion over the next four years. 

Job creation is being further supported through measures to reskill the workforce by providing assistance, through reduced fees and free short courses, for people to attend upgraded TAFE colleges.