Western Australia wooing India to diversify its economy through investment in critical

NEW DELHI: Western Australia is looking at India to diversfity its economy through investment in critical minerals, gold, hospitality, to have enhanced aviation connectivity and also hopes to see some Bollywood films using their picturesque landscape as locations.

“We are actively looking at investors from India to invest in hotels and other tourism-related projects in Western Australia WA).

We have also had a meeting with Air India and Indigo to improve connectivity between India, particularly south Indian cities like Hyderabad and Chennai to Perth and beyond.

All further approvals are subject to availability of aircraft,’’ said Rita Saffioti, Western Australia’s Deputy Premier, Treasurer, and Ministry for Transport and Tourism.

After holding meetings in Delhi, she and her delegation are headed to Chennai.

WA is Australia’s largest state and has over 160000 people of Indian origin living there. Its warm climtate, high rate of employment, lower expenses and vast land makes it an important destination. Nearly 79 per cent of the total population (2.76 million) lives in Perth.

India is WA’s 10th largest trading partner, with $4.1 billion of goods traded in 2022-23, and an important inbound tourism market. In the year ending September 2023, India ranked as WA’s 7th largest international market, with 27,000 visitors contributing an estimated $91 million to the state’s economy.

“Western Australia has competitive advantages in clean energy, including vast solar, wind, critical minerals and land natural resources. We have abundance of critical minerals (such as lithium and vanadium) and potential as a major producer of renewable energy, including renewable hydrogen and energy tech, place Australia in a prime position to support India’s clean energy transition and sustainable development (electric vehicles),’” Saffioti said, adding that they were hopeful of getting more Indian companies to invest in these sectors.

With India’s demand for EV batteries increasing, there would be more requirement for critical minerals, which WA can provide.

Saffioti met with the chairman of TATA India to explore potential collaborations.

Meanwhile, the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) has created new opportunities for Australian goods and services with reduced tariffs for products like wines, avocados and rock lobsters.

“We also hope to tap the film industry in India and are preparing a roadmap for the same. Our landscape it beautiful and would just be perfect for a film shooting location for Bollywood,” Saffioti added.

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