WA Opposition to “demand” miners pay for roads

The WA Labor Opposition has vowed to make mining companies contribute more to upgrading key roads in order to improve safety on infrastructure stressed by the resources industry.

Under the plan Opposition leader Mark McGowan said if elected he would “demand” mining companies contribute up to half of the cost of upgrading key public roads.

McGowan launched the WA Opposition's election campaign on Monday, and said some regional roads were suffering wear and tear from increased use by mining vehicles.

The Labor leader said asking mining companies to contribute to roads was not “that big an ask” considering the millions they had invested in some parts of WA.

“I'd be demanding they contribute. They are the ones causing the huge damage to the roads,” he said.

“We need to ensure the mining industry continues to be successful, but that it also plays its part.”

McGowan said sealing a 100km stretch from Newman to Nullagine would be a top priority for the Labor Government, with the road servicing Gina Rinehart's Roy Hill mine and Fortescue Metals Group's Cloudbreak project.

According to The Sunday Times some mining companies already contribute to road maintenance, but the payments are voluntary and rarely make-up 50 per cent of the total cost.

The plan has drawn criticism from some parts of the mining industry, but in a statement FMG told News Limited it would “continue to work with governments of any persuasion” to help manage regional roads.

FMG chairman Andrew Forrest previously proposed a plan for miners to invest millions in infrastructure in order to avoid paying the mining tax, but the plan was sidelined by the Gillard Government.

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