The Chamber of Commerce and Industry is running a deceitful campaign against the Lawrence Government in Western Australia.
Deputy Premier Ian Taylor said the chamber should apologise to the public and keep out of politics unless it was going to run an honest campaign.
"For the chamber to feature a series of economic performance charts which featured national figures instead of the much better WA figures is nothing short of deceitful," Mr Taylor said.
"The picture they are trying to paint of WA is at odds with the latest analysis of the Western Australian economy as done by Dun & Bradstreet, the New South Wales Government's Treasury Department and even the chamber's own publications."
Mr Taylor said that among the points made in the chamber's `Western Australia Economic Review' December 1992 Vol. 12, No. 2 were:
· over the year WA outperformed national average trends on all the major monthly economic indicators;
· like exports, investment contributes an above average share to the economic growth of WA .... per capita investment is significantly higher;
· Perth also appears to have reaped some benefits from the `Family Pledge', a State Government policy which limits householders' increases in taxes and charges to the inflation rate; and
· WA's overall private investment should continue its relatively strong performance.
Mr Taylor said the chamber's decision to ignore its own analysis of the State and that of reputable organisations was blatant politics.
"They have done a deal with the Liberal Party to get them into government. The pay-off for the chamber is reduced wages bills for its members as things like the annual leave loading are axed, a proposition which has been strongly advocated by the chamber.
"Their stand is in line with that of the Australian Small Business Association which has advocated axing workers' annual and sick leave and reducing superannuation payments.
Mr Taylor said all Western Australians should understand the true picture of the State economy which was leading the nation in overall economic performance:
· WA's growth rate surpasses all other States and is well above most other countries;
· WA had productivity growth rates well in excess of the Australian average;
· WA had the highest private investment per capita;
· WA enjoyed a substantial trade surplus which last year was $6 billion higher than Australia's; and
· the State had historically led the nation in job creation and the latest data showed that it had the second lowest unemployment rate in Australia.
"The chamber's timing for talking about bankruptcies could not have been worse -- one day later, new statistics showed that this State recorded the largest fall in bankruptcies, down nearly 30 per cent.
"I also think the chamber would be at a loss to explain how, under the economic scenario they portray, 3,900 new businesses managed to register in 1992 or how WA in December recorded a major increase in vehicle registrations."
Mr Taylor said that adding support to the real state of the WA economy was a study by the NSW Treasury which ranked WA first in terms of economic performance.
The international rating society, Standard and Poors had given WA a clean financial bill of health.
Dun & Bradstreet's latest business expectations survey, done in December, shows that not only is WA the only region where sales expectations have increased, but also that business optimism was greater here than in any other State.
"We are coming out the recession more quickly than any other State - we need to have vision; we need policies; we need a plan of action," Mr Taylor said.
"If the chamber had the interests of its members at heart, it would be asking for an answer to the biggest question so far posed during this election campaign - what taxes the Opposition will increase to cover the massive hole in its budget."