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Mining boom adds $4.8 billion to WA dining sector

Western Australia’s restaurants are big winners from the mining boom.

Research from Edith Cowan University shows that the state’s booming mining industry added $4.8 billion to the state’s dining sector over the eleven years between 2004 and 2015.

Added to that was the $900 million boost which has been linked to factors such as a growing coffee culture, the proliferation of ‘small bars’, busier lifestyles and food fashion. It also includes the rise of cooking shows and dining apps.

The research shows that the dining industry grew by 139 per cent thanks to mining.

That also added a 69 per cent boost in employment.

And all up, the dining sector added an extra $8.9 billion to the WA economy during the boom years.

Significantly, most of the growth from mining did not happen in the mining towns. According to the research, 69 per cent of the expansion occurred in Greater Perth.

“The mining boom accounted for more than half of the growth in the dining industry during this time, with the remainder attributable to growth that would have occurred anyway,” said Professor of Finance Robert Powell from ECU’s School of Business and Law.

“WA’s dining boom was almost double that experienced in the rest of Australia and had twice the growth of the state’s grocery industry.”

But of course, mining in WA has now tapered off and the mining boom has come to an end.

And that in turn, has had an impact on the dining industry.

In 2016, cafes and restaurants contracted by two per cent, and there was a a move towards more takeaways, a sector that rose by 3.75 per cent.

At the same time, dining industry jobs fell by five per cent, full-time employment dropped by 25 per cent and part-time employment rose by nine per cent.

“As spending on eating out is a discretionary household purchase, it is volatile and reacts to shocks, whether at the local or global level,” Professor Powell said.

“These correlations provide evidence of the strong link between mining and dining.

“Like many other sectors, the dining industry cannot continue to rely on mining to boost it, which suggests government and industry need to formulate policies to support non-mining industries.” 

by Leon Gettler, December 20th 2017