Pilbara MP Brendan Grylls has questioned the need for further expansion in the mining region, saying it would be better to “leave it in the ground”.
The Nationals MP criticised BHP’s resistance to a marina in Port Hedland’s West End, which the miner has said should be built six kilometres further away from the town.
The comments from the pro-development politician surprised attendees at a Port Hedland Chamber of Commerce function last week, according to the West Australian.
Grylls said that plans to increase exports from 300 million tonnes per year to 500 million tonnes per year would generate more dust, and quoted former WA premier Charles Court to highlight the question of community benefit.
“Sir Charles Court said there needed to the a coexistence between community and industry and if you couldn’t find that coexistence, then the very justification for that economic activity should be called into question,” Grylls said.
“Someone needs to explain to me the social dividend of having 500 million tonnes leaving the channel instead of 300 million tonnes of the end result is an abandoned West End and a whole heap of operational workers in camps, because I’ll say there’s none.”
The former leader of the Nationals was instrumental in the development of the Royalties for Regions program, and stepped down as leader of the party in November 2013, and remained committed to his representation of the Pilbara electorate and the funding program for regional West Australians.