06/04/2016 - 14:29

Debt causing consumer angst: CCI

06/04/2016 - 14:29

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Roughly four in every five Western Australians feel the state government doesn’t have a suitable plan to pay back debt and recover a AAA credit rating, according to a recent Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA survey.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA is the state's peak body representing businesses.

Roughly four in every five Western Australians feel the state government doesn’t have a suitable plan to pay back debt and recover a AAA credit rating, according to a recent Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA survey.

Net debt is expected to peak at $39 billion before the end of the decade, with around $5 billion of asset sales currently planned to reduce it.

The state lost its AAA rating in late 2013, and was hit by a further downgrade in February of this year.

Chamber chief executive Deidre Willmott said a plan to reduce debt would boost consumer confidence, which fell in the March quarter.

Only 5 per cent of respondents were optimistic about the short-term economic outlook.

“One key factor in this decline in consumer confidence is Western Australians’ concerns about the downgrading of our credit rating and growing uncertainty around how the government will fix it,” Ms Willmott said.

“In this budget, the public wants to see a clear plan on how the state government is going to regain the AAA credit rating through reduced spending and finding greater efficiencies in service delivery.

“This will be vital in restoring consumers’ confidence that Western Australia will continue to be a low-risk place invest and do business.

“The government should also continue to progress with an asset sales and privatisation program that will create savings and allow the private sector to deliver services more efficiently for the benefit of the consumer.”

A further problem for the government’s economic management credentials was that more than 90 per cent of respondents felt more could be done to support a transition away from mining investment-led growth.

Agriculture and innovation where the most popular industries.

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