WA’s unemployment rate of 6.1 per cent, remains more than a full per cent higher than the Australian rate of 5.0 per cent in trend terms, continuing our unenviable position of having the second highest unemployment rate in the country.

More than 126,000 West Australians remain underemployed and want more work and over 87,000 West Australians are unemployed. Youth unemployment has however thankfully gained some ground, down 1.5 per cent in March to 13.7 per cent.

While focussing on the short-term numbers may provide some hollow comfort, the long-term trend in WA employment is concerning. The total number of West Australians in employment has now been falling for six consecutive months.

By comparison to the rest of the nation, the total number of Australians in employment has been growing every month for more than five years.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA (CCI) has consistently highlighted that WA is experiencing very different economic conditions to the east coast and immediate action must be taken if we want West Australians to not only have a job but to feel secure that they will keep it.

It is critical that any future Federal Government does not impose east coast centric policies on small businesses that would further hurt employment in Western Australia, such as a living wage proposed by the ACTU, Unions WA and Federal Labor.

Likewise, the State Government should cut its tax on WA small business jobs, which is the highest of any state, to turn this concerning trend of WA shedding jobs around.

With the highest payroll tax burden – a literal tax on jobs – of any state in the nation, it is more expensive to create a job here than anywhere else in Australia. It’s no wonder then that we continue to hold the second highest unemployment in the country.

For the State Government to achieve its 150,000 jobs target with the help of small business, who employ more than 500,000 West Australians, they must now reduce this tax on WA jobs.