Western Australian finances have gone from a deficit to an opening surplus of $1.1 billion piggybacking on the higher royalties for iron ore this year. The strong earnings from the mining sector have shown the surplus for the first six months of the 2010-11 financial year.
The jump is considerable when you consider that there was a $259 million deficit in the 2009- 2010 financial year. The revenue in this period went up to $12.3 billion which is higher by $2 billion in the corresponding period in the previous financial year.
The Western Australia Treasurer Christian Porter released figures that showed that the major miners had contributed greatly to the surplus. A one off $350 million payment from BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto also contributed to the state of good finances. This came from the state government’s successful negotiation to remove the royalty concession on iron ore production.
Another contributor was the one off back payment of $55 million from the Robe River Mesa J Mine. This came after the resolution of a long standing issue regarding the applicable royalty rate for the mine between the mine officials and the state government.
The Treasurer added that the retail and property sectors were flat and there were low stamp duty and GST revenues. Net debt also rose to $450 million due to planned investment in major infrastructure.