The WA economy is riding on a mining boom, but whose boom is it? The international demand for minerals, particularly iron-ore has seen the 3 big players of Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals invest $millions in expansion projects. Whole villages have grown up around mines and the port towns of Port Hedland and Karratha are finally getting long overdue infrastructure. By any standards the investment is immense, but finite. Many of the expansion projects are nearing completion and the huge workforce will be laid off. Up until now this has been their boom, but not for much longer.
Now the iron-ore is been mined, processed and shipped overseas. The workforce required is relatively small, with many jobs being lost and some moving to metropolitan Perth. The money will roll in for the miners and royalties for the State Government; this will become their Boom, with little left for working people.
The expansion boom has sucked a lot of activity out of the Perth Metropolitan area due to lack of competitive workforce and plant. Without Government projects such at Northbridge link, the Perth Foreshore project and the new Stadium Perth would be at a standstill. Development does not just happen, medium and large scale projects have large lead times.
My fear is that the mining boom will be like a black hole for Perth; it has sucked energy out of the city and once it is over the vacuum will remain for quite some time. Somebody please prove me wrong!