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Not So Perth-ect For Businesses In Western Australia

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Not So Perth-ect For Businesses In Western Australia

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Down Under they're blaming the Chinese. The region finds itself in the precarious position of relying upon the Chinese markets, and to a certain extent, the Indian economy as well.

TOM TAINTON discovers why the grass isn't always greener.

Every year nearly 5,000 Brits pack their bags and jet off to the sunnier climates of Perth, Western Australia. The city is blessed with year-round warm weather, endless coastline and the jewel in the crown - huge levels of natural resources just waiting to be exploited. But all is not well in this isolated corner of the Australian continent. Business is stuttering amid the international slowdown and employment figures have leaped to 2.8%. In fact, the engine room of Australia's economy isn't just grinding to a halt; it's showing ominous signs of slipping into reverse. Life's a beach, and all that.

According to the Commonwealth Bank and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia (what a mouthful) corporate confidence has plummeted to its lowest level in a decade. Mining projects in the Perth region have been shelved and thousands of jobs cut and a once thriving industry faces downward pressure on commodity prices and demand. But why is Western Australia feeling the pinch more than most?

Well, Down Under they're blaming the Chinese. The region finds itself in the precarious position of relying upon the Chinese markets, and to a certain extent, the Indian economy as well. When things are going well, as they have been in recent years, Western Australia reaps the rewards that trickle down from the rapidly expanding Asian industries. But when things aren't so rosy, Australia, and Perth in particular, suffers. Experts warn unemployment will rise even further in Perth with the construction industry bracing itself for a serious hit, while house prices could lose a fifth of their value.

So what can be done to soften the economic blow? Western Australia officials have suggested lower interest rates and taxes, as well as increased spending on public infrastructure and improved access to credit. It's a time when firms will see an opportunity to ride the storm and look forward to the inevitable economic upturn. However, it could take two to three years before Perth fully bounces back.

Bet you're glad you're stuck in rainy England now.

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