- Packaged designed to attract tourists, skilled workers and international students when borders open
- Mark McGowan has warned that drop in business is inevitable
- Property Council WA has raised concerns over housing supply
The WA government has dedicated a $185 million dollar package to support the state’s economy when the borders open.
The announcement comes as anticipation grows for the decision on exactly when borders will open, expected to be in late January or early February.
WA Premier Mark McGowan appeared as the keynote speaker for a CEDA conference boasting “one of the softest landings out of the pandemic anywhere in the world.”
“Our Reconnect WA package aims to leverage what we have achieved in managing the pandemic by offering a safe and vibrant place to visit, work or invest in.”
Mark McGowan, WA Premier
The package includes elements designed to attract tourists, skilled workers and international students.
The government intends to take advantage of the safe reputation WA has gained from its management of the pandemic.
The ReconnctWA package dedicates $65 million towards a marketing campaign aiming to promote WA as safe and full of opportunity.
The safe brand is hoped to be a drawcard for people looking to travel, study, work or invest.
Speaking at the CEDA conference, Mr McGowan highlighted his state’s low unemployment and admirably strong economic growth.
However, the Premier warned that borders opening may put a dent in these strong results.
“There are many who will be shocked by the inevitable drop in business when our borders ease and Western Australians can travel abroad once more.”
WA Premier Mark McGowan
“This is contrary to what some might be expecting will happen. We must act now to attract the necessary visitors to fill the gap,” Mr McGowan explained.
Housing supply concerns raised
Although Property Council WA has welcomed the Reconnect WA package, the lobby group has raised concerns over the housing supply which will be required for additional visitors and residents.
Property Council WA Executive Director, Sandra Brewer, believes the investment is an important step toward moving beyond the pandemic.
“The availability of skills and labour has been a critical concern for the property industry for most of 2021, with a lack of workers causing significant price escalations.
“The problem has become more acute in the past two to three months, and increasingly we are hearing cases of projects being at risk or placed on hold.”
While this investment package may help address the labour shortage, it could intensify the pressure on the housing supply as more people move to WA.
“The one thing needed to accommodate a growing population is housing supply.
Sandra Brewer, Property Council WA Executive Director
Ms Brewer has highlighted that addressing the housing supply shortage cannot happen overnight.
“We need a workforce to deliver it, investors, to support it, and an efficient planning system to grow sustainably. We are eager to work with the government on the policy measures needed to achieve this goal.”