The West

Warning  for WA  as mining pulls back
Future rust bucket: WA's dependence on mining poses future risks. Picture: Supplied

WA may have been the only part of Australia to directly benefit from the mining boom, a report suggests.

It also warns the State is likely to face economic tremors as the resources sector slows.

Compiled for the Australian Local Government Association, the annual State of the Regions report cautions that the growth that has led to WA having the highest wages in the nation could quickly evaporate and leave the State as "tomorrow's rust bucket".

It raises doubts over the Abbott Government's employment policies, suggesting young people in rural and regional areas are at risk of being left behind.

The report tracks economic measures across almost 70 defined regions covering Australia.

The Pilbara was the single biggest beneficiary from the boom because of the sharp lift in demand for iron ore and liquefied natural gas.

It delivered WA more than half the lift in GDP that happened on the back of the mining boom.

The report calculates the WA economy is 30 per cent bigger today than it would have been had the boom not happened.

The overall economic benefit has flowed only to WA, albeit with some spillover in Queensland. By contrast, Victoria's economy has shrunk 5 per cent. NSW and South Australia have also gone backwards.

With the mining boom slowing, the report warns governments at all levels should focus on infrastructure development, from heavy infrastructure such as roads and rail links, to education and telecommunications.

The report also found a lift in unemployment among 15 to 24-year-olds. In the past five years it has risen more than 8 per cent in both the Goldfields and the Pilbara.

The West Australian

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