While the tide of support made a swift and significant shift against Premier Mark McGowan in recent weeks, particularly after the decision to keep Western Australia’s hard border in place after February 5, several announcements this week have marked a more positive move towards the state’s reopening.
A total of 382 interstate and 63 international flights were expected to land in Perth this week – the beginning of what is sure to be an influx in travellers and those moving back to WA.
The Federal Government’s decision to open to international travellers from February 21 is likely to see even more people able to make it into WA over the coming weeks and months.
This is much-needed relief for many families wanting to see their loved ones and, importantly, for a range of industries that have been crying out for workers here in WA – not least the property and construction sectors.
UDIA WA undertook a quick pulse check survey of our members, which found more than 80 per cent of respondents had been impacted by the availability and access to skilled workers.
Eighty per cent of respondents also highlighted that increased material costs were having a high or medium impact on their business.
The flow-on effect of these issues is that around 75 per cent of respondents say worker shortages and material costs could have a high or medium impact in terms of delaying projects.
The housing boom is ongoing in WA, however access to skilled workers has been tough. Combined with the materials delays, costs have escalated, which will inevitably impact on new homebuyers.
Despite these challenges, I think we are turning a major corner this week, which will see us on a much more positive path moving forward.
A reduction in isolation requirements down to seven days and better clarification of close contacts is a good move that provides much more certainty for everyone, including businesses.
With third dose vaccination rates currently sitting at 44 per cent (at the time of writing) and increasing at a rate of about two per cent each day, a more official state border opening is imminent.
The loosening of state and federal borders means that we can get migration to WA back up. This is critical for economic growth and to keep industries operational.
In previous years, WA has had the fastest population growth rate of any state, and around 60 per cent of that growth came from overseas migration prior to COVID-19.
All the announcements this week are leading WA in the right direction for industry and the wider community, including new homebuyers.