The West

It is the national economy's engine room and helped Australia escape the worst of the global financial crisis, but more than a quarter of West Australians think the mining boom has made their lives worse.

The mining States WA and Queensland have the highest proportion of adults who think the boom times have made life worse for their families at 27 per cent and 36 per cent, compared with an average 20 per cent elsewhere.

The attitudes to the resources industry are revealed in a nationwide poll of 1000 Australians taken two weeks ago, which also shows 61 per cent believed the national economy is too focused on mining.

Despite its high level of animosity towards the industry, WA had the highest proportion of adults (52 per cent) who said it had made life better for their families, suggesting the boom has polarised West Australians.

The research, commissioned by Perth-based mining consultancy firm David Utting Corporate, comes after Prime Minister Julia Gillard accused Premier Colin Barnett in April of not spreading mining wealth widely enough.

WA Mines Minister Norman Moore said he was surprised more West Australians were not better off because of mining, but conceded it had caused inflation.

"It has put enormous pressure on the labour market and prices and that has flowed through to higher rents and cost of living, but far greater numbers of West Australians are benefitting from the industry," he said.

Consultant David Utting said the data, gathered by Federal Labor's pollster UMR Research, also showed 66 per cent of Australians thought the mining industry was too heavily dominated by big multinational players.

"More should be done to encourage and support the junior end of the market," he said.

In WA, despite recent layoffs, 62 per cent of respondents predicted continued mining and resources growth with just 25 per cent saying it had peaked - compared with 47 per cent and 35 per cent nationally.

Shadow treasurer Ben Wyatt said the poll confirmed WA's two-speed economy and the Barnett Government had left behind a quarter of West Australians.

Chamber of Minerals and Energy boss Reg Howard-Smith said it was vital the mining industry retained West Australians' confidence by treating the environment and regional communities well.

The West Australian

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