The biggest problem for the Western Australian resources industry and economy will be the federal government, the state’s Mines and Petroleum Minister said.
Norman Moore told the Mining and Engineering WA exhibition this morning the state is treated unfairly by the federal government, and its contribution to the nations economy should be better recognised.
“The federal government looms as one of the most significant impediments to growth in Western Australia,” he said.
Moore said of the $38 billion expected to be produced from the mining tax, 65 per cent will come from companies operating in Western Australia.
“The federal treasurer does not understand that the minerals in the ground belong to the state.
“They do not belong to the federal government.”
Moore said the WA government remains opposed to the mining tax and does not understand why Prime Minister Julia Gillard went back on her promise to never introduce a carbon tax.
“The WA government is similarly concerned with the carbon tax,” he said.
“We are eager to know on Sunday the details of the tax and eager to find out it’s stating rate and the impact it will have on businesses.”
Moore also expressed the state government’s apprehension about the influence of environmentalist groups in Australia.
“We are concerned with green activism in Australia, who seem to be opposed to the resources sector no matter what you talk about,” he said.
“They’re opposed to digging holes anywhere.”
He said the control the Greens and Labor have in the Senate will “play out much to the detriment of this industry.”
The minister also assured the audience the state’s resources industry is well prepared to solve the skills shortage, with initiatives in place including immigration, Aboriginal training and education and apprenticeship programs set to meet the numbers needed for projects in coming years.
The Pilbara Cities Initiative will also play a major role in attracting workers and families to the region and reducing the reliance on fly-in fly-out (FIFO).
“If the question is ‘what have I got to say about the Margaret River coal mine and EPA processes’ my answers is not a lot at the moment,” he said.
“The EPA has made a decision that the company’s proposed mine would have n adverse affect on the environment and made the decision that it won’t get environmental approval.”
“I’m not here today to say whether that’s a good idea or not, but the decision by the EPA is part of the process.
“I haven’t had a good look at all of it, but some people do have the opinion it wasn’t the most rigorous assessment that’s ever been done.”