Thursday, September 28, 2006

Returned from Perth

I am back in Melbourne after a pleasant 6 days in Perth. My visit to this city really made a bigger impression on me than the Australian Conference of Economists. The economy of WA is presently growing faster than China with a growth rate in GDP of 11.7%.

In today's Australian Financial Review it is reported that office rentals in Perth have risen 50% in the past year. Cranes dot the city skyline as luxurious subdivisions pour into the countryside. It also reported that WA, not content with trying to win our football trophy, is also trying to steal our workers for its public sector - many of WA's best are heading off to join mining firms. The WA Government has the second-biggest state budget surplus (after Queensland). There is also a lot of migration heading towards the west - a large community of wealthy ex patriate South African land owners have established a significant presence there.

While in WA I met up with Sam (Yobbo) Ward for a convivial afternoon of food and beer. At the economics conference I thought the best paper I attended was by fellow blogger John Quiggin on water supply policy. Part of John's thoughts are in today's AFR.

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