Daniel Wild Detailing IPA Scorecard Research On Perth Live 6PR – 12 March 2024

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12 March 2024
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The Institute of Public Affairs’ Daniel Wild joined Oliver Peterson on 6PR Perth Live to discuss IPA’s research into Australia’s economic prosperity.

All media posted onto the IPA website are directly related to the promotion and dissemination of IPA research.

Below is a transcript of the interview.


Oliver Peterson:

Today, the Institute of Public Affairs has released its State Economic Scorecard 2024. Daniel Wild can tell you more. He’s the deputy executive director of the IPA. Good day, Daniel.

Daniel Wild:

Good day and nice to be with you.

Oliver Peterson:

You’re going to tell us what we already know. WA is the best place in the world.

Daniel Wild:

It is by a long shot, Ollie, and the key message I have is Western Australia is great and make sure you keep it that way because we’ve seen what happens in other states like Victoria. When you get the policy settings wrong, especially around energy, then you’re in for a lot of pain.

Oliver Peterson:

So we are the best performing state economically speaking. What are the indicators in your report card around the nation?

Daniel Wild:

Yeah, look, the key indicators that put WA on top in relation to having the lowest state tax burden, the lowest increases to electricity prices, and the best outcomes in terms of wages, growth, business investment and job creation. Now, the thing that is underpinning this of course, and this won’t come as a surprise to your listeners, is the state’s world leading resources sector and the jobs and the investment and the wages that come from that. We know that mining is the highest paid sector of the economy and that flows through to other areas of our society as well, so that’s keeping WA on top.

In terms of the area that WA was struggling with was rental prices, the largest increase to rental prices across the nation and anyone who’s looking for a house at the moment would know the pain associated with that. And the key reason for that, Ollie, is this mass migration, the unplanned population growth of the federal government that is causing a lot of pain for renters who are just struggling to get into the rental market at the moment because there’s not enough houses coming online.

Oliver Peterson:

No, you’re spot on, and it’s been that situation through the pandemic. It’s getting worse every single week. We have the data about the number of places that are available to rent and you can’t get any more juice out of the lemon. It’s an issue that obviously Australia is facing at the moment, Daniel, but in WA, it gets worse and worse every single week.

Daniel Wild:

Yeah, it does, and it’s a huge concern. Owning your own home is a key part of the Australian way of life and getting young people in a home is absolutely critical, but not only are young people now struggling to buy a home, they’re struggling to rent a home. Like I say, this is really the consequence of this massive unplanned population growth that we’re seeing. Just to give you some context, last year was the first year in our nation’s history that more than 1 million migrants entered our nation. Now, I can understand why migrants want to come here, because we’re the best nation on earth and Western Australia is the best state in the country as we’ve just talked about economically, but it’s got to be planned for. You’ve got to have the schools, the roads, the hospitals, the houses in place first before you bring in this mass migration so that the pressure on those who are already here is alleviated, and to make sure that Australians can access those critical social services.

Oliver Peterson:

And is this going to put a handbrake on future economic growth and this sort of a performance in this report card today?

Daniel Wild:

Yeah, look, it will. It’s a key concern because if you don’t have the houses, you can’t get people in the jobs, and we’ve heard particularly in regional parts of Western Australia where there’s jobs around but the houses aren’t there so people can’t get out to get the job, so that’s a huge concern. The other point I’d make, Ollie, in terms of potential concerns in the future is the state government energy policy. As you know, that the state government is committed to this 80% cut to greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and they’re going to decommission the remaining coal fired power stations in WA by the end of the decade. That is a big mistake, and we know that from what’s happening in Victoria.

Victoria rates dead bottom of our economic scorecard, ranking last or second to last in seven out of the 10 measures, and I can tell you, the number one reason for this is the state’s energy policy. Half a million homes were without power only a few weeks ago. You’ve got businesses in Victoria that are fleeing the state because the state government simply cannot guarantee supply of energy, and it’s very much a warning to Western Australia not to catch the East Coast disease. Keep the coal fired power stations open and don’t commit to these ideologically driven renewables targets. Sure, if you can get emissions down, so much the better, but it’s very dangerous to do that at the expense of reliability as Victoria can attest to.

Oliver Peterson:

And obviously, Daniel, there’s a national debate at the moment over introducing nuclear power. That’s heating up. Where does the IPA stand on this?

Daniel Wild:

Well, we need to go ahead with a proper debate about it to scope out the capacity of nuclear in Australia. I don’t think it ever should have been subject to a ban. Of course it should be regulated and have proper oversight, but we know that it’s used in many countries around the world and we need to have base load power supply into our energy system. Now, there’s basically three sources of that. There’s coal fired power, there’s nuclear and there’s hydro, and Tasmania has done a great job with its hydro. So those are the three sources. We’ve got state governments that are looking to decommission their coal fired power such as in WA, and the reality is that wind and solar, they can top up a system. You can put solar on your rooftop and that can be beneficial, but in terms of providing the base load power that you need to provide energy for an industrial economy, renewables just cannot do that. So you have to have nuclear or coal or in some cases hydro, so this is a debate that we need to have.

Oliver Peterson:

Yeah, and it will continue to rage that debate for sure. Before I let you go, Daniel, isn’t it ironic, in your state scorecard, you’ve got WA, South Australia, Tasmania in spots one, two and three. Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria coming last. So it’s the minnows, isn’t it? It’s the little brother taking on big brother.

Daniel Wild:

Well look, that’s exactly right. And I think, again, one of the key reasons for that is I think the forgotten about states, they’ve got to battle a bit harder. We’re used to a lot of the media coverage being focused on the East Coast, but I think if you look at WA, SA and Tasmania, they’re carving out a real future for themselves in a way that’s maybe not being done. And you will have seen the news today actually, that Victoria is getting an extra three or 4 billion in the GST handout at the expense of WA and states that are actually growing. Victoria is going backwards, so why should a state which is growing like WA have to give up its revenue, send it over to the east in Victoria where they’re destroying their own economy? It just doesn’t make sense to me.

Oliver Peterson:

No, and we won’t utter those letters today, GST, because you and I’ll be here for hours. Daniel, have a great day. Thanks for your time.

Daniel Wild:

My pleasure. Thanks Ollie.

Oliver Peterson:

Daniel Wild, deputy Executive Director at the IPR. I reckon we’ve recruited him to say West is best, but they’re coming for us and they’re coming for the GST, the Australian newspaper with the top story online saying taxpayers will pay $5 billion in the next financial year to provide the nation’s richest state, Western Australia, with an extra $6.2 billion in GST revenue under the sweetheart deals struck with the former coalition government and which Jim Chalmers has extended until the end of the decade. They’re coming for us, even though Anthony Albanese, the prime minister, signed the arm of Dylan Caporn at the West Australian to say he would not be breaking the GST promise, it’s not going to stop the others coming for our GST.

This transcript from Perth Live 6PR with Oliver Peterson from 12 March 2024 has been edited for clarity.

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