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How are Australia’s states and territories performing?

Each quarter, CommSec attempts to find out by analysing eight key indicators: economic growth; retail spending; equipment investment; unemployment; construction work done; population growth; housing finance and dwelling commencements.

Just as the Reserve Bank uses long-term averages to determine the level of “normal” interest rates; we have done the same with the economic indicators. For each state and territory, latest readings for the key indicators were compared with decade averages – that is, against the “normal” performance.

Now in its 11th year, the State of the States report also includes a section comparing annual growth rates for the eight key indicators across the states and territories as well as Australia as a whole. This enables another point of comparison – in terms of economic momentum.

State of the States

Brought to you by the CommSec Economics Team

Victoria remains the best performing economy but now shares top spot with Tasmania. The ACT has lifted to third spot from NSW. But there is little separating the top four states. Then there is a gap to South Australia and Queensland.  And then follows Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Victoria has now held top position in the economic rankings – either outright or shared – for eight quarterly surveys.

The last time Tasmania was on top of the performance rankings was October 2009. The ACT is now third and it has been in the top four economies for just over four years. NSW has been in the top four economies now for six years. South Australia is now in fifth spot, ahead of Queensland. There has been little to separate the two states for just over two years. Western Australia remains in seventh position, ahead of Northern Territory. Western Australia remains in seventh position, ahead of Northern Territory.

State & Territory breakdown


1. Victoria

Strength: Retail trade 

Weakness: Equipment investment 


Insights into VIC

Victoria now shares top spot on the overall economic performance rankings. Victoria ranks first on three of the eight indicators.


2. Tasmania 

Strength: Relative population growth  

Weakness: Equipment investment


Insights into TAS

Tasmania now shares top spot on the economic performance rankings with Victoria. Tasmania leads on two of the eight economic indicators.


3. ACT

Strength: Housing finance

Weakness: Relative economic growth 


Insights into ACT

The ACT is now in third spot in the rankings. The ACT is top-ranked on three of the eight indicators.


4. New South Wales

Strength: Relative economic growth

Weakness: Relative population growth


Insights into NSW

NSW is now in fourth position on the overall economic performance rankings. NSW is second or third or fourth on most of the eight indicators.


5. South Australia

Strength: Dwelling starts

Weakness: Relative economic growth


Insights into SA

South Australia is now in fifth position on the performance rankings. South Australia is second-ranked on three of the economic indicators.


6. Queensland

Strength: Relative population growth

Weakness: Equipment investment

Insights into QLD

Queensland is now in sixth position on the performance rankings. Queensland is ranked third on relative population growth.


7. Western Australia

Strength: Equipment investment 

Weakness: Housing finance


Insights into WA

Western Australia ranks third on business investment and relative economic growth but seventh on the other six economic indicators.


8. Northern Territory 

Strength: Relative economic growth

Weakness: Relative Population Growth


Insights into NT

The Northern Territory is sixth-ranked on economic growth and equipment investment but lags all other states and territories on the other six indicators.

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