Business as usual as WA business groups cheer Barnett’s re-election

It came as no great surprise to analysts and business owners in Western Australia that Colin Barnett was re-elected as Premier over the weekend.

Over the past four years, the Liberal Party leader in WA has seen the state’s economy flourish, as many other Australian states have struggled and the southern states dipped into a recession.

National Independent Retailers Association president Bob Stanton told SmartCompany the re-election of Barnett is a “very good thing”.

“For the state, I think it’s a very good thing. For the economy of the state, we don’t want Labor involved and we certainly think federal Labor is toxic. We don’t want them anywhere near this place,” he says.

Stanton says over the four years he expects to see the economy continue to do well.

“There will be massive major construction projects over the next four years and hopefully in the housing sector too. The tradies will earn some money back and the projects will help small businesses and retailers in general.  It should also in turn put some money back into families’ pockets,” he says.

Stanton, also the owner of the Myaree mini-mart in Western Australia, while happy with Barnett’s re-election, would like to see the dominance of the major supermarkets addressed.

“The longer trading hours have played to the hands of the Coles and Woolworths duopoly. We are now looking down the barrel of the Premier increasing trading hours on Sundays too and this needs to be looked at because it’s bitten into small retailers,” he says.

Stanton says he’d also like to see the government consider deregulation of other retail sectors and the softening of restrictions in regards to liquor licensing.

AMP Capital Investors chief economist Shane Oliver told SmartCompany he’s not surprised by the election result.

“It’s no great surprise, I mean the WA government had been doing a pretty good job over the past few years and the economy has been booming. The government tends to only be kicked out when the economy hasn’t been doing well,” he says.

Oliver says Barnett’s re-election means business will continue as normal.

“It’s more of the same for businesses. I have no doubt mining business would see it favourably though. Liberal governments tend to be business friendly.

“There’s no uncertainty in regards to policies – reasonably friendly to the mining sector with increased infrastructure spending,” he says.

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia congratulated Barnett on his re-appointment.

“The Western Australian resources sector looks forward to working collaboratively with government to ensure the sector continues to grow,” CME said in a statement.

CME want to see the expansion of the Department of Mines and Petroleum’s approvals tracking scheme into the Department of Water, The Department of Environment Regulation and the Environmental Protection Authority.

It also wants the Barnett government to develop a publicly available online biodiversity, water and cultural heritage database and virtual library.

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