One of Australia's most senior businesswomen says WA's position as an economic powerhouse is a recent phenomenon and the State has barely started to make a net contribution to the nation's wealth.

Jillian Broadbent, a Reserve Bank board member and a non- executive director with ASX Ltd and Woolworths, suggested yesterday that WA had "for the first time" stopped being a supplicant State.

Speaking at a Perth business luncheon, Ms Broadbent, a former long-serving board member with Woodside Petroleum, said WA's success was tied to its endowment of natural resources.

She said the State's rise was fortunate and largely thanks to the unprecedented rise of the world's developing economies, which had huge demand for WA's mining products.

"The divergence in economic growth between the developed and developing countries has some parallels for us at the national level and an industry level," Ms Broadbent said.

"The changing global dynamics are seeping into the Australian economy and, in turn, into our individual States. Growth is now favouring the resources rich States - you're lucky to be one of them.

"For the first time since Federation, WA is making a contribution to the Federal fiscal Budget."

The comments by Ms Broadbent are a veiled rebuff to claims by the WA Government, led by Premier Colin Barnett, that WA is being ripped off by the GST carve-up and that the system has failed.

Ms Broadbent said renewable energy was critical to Australia's economic prospects.

The West Australian

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