The Association of Mining & Exploration Companies (AMEC) has released its ‘wishlist’ for the Western Australian 2008 elections, calling for the State Government to redress the decline in the State’s reputation for mining policy.
AMEC chief executive Dr Justin Walawski said WA’s policy reputation is now reported by the Fraser Institute as having the most room to improve of all those Australian States and Territories with strong mineral exploration profiles.
“This fall in reputation is directly correlated with the worst decline in mineral exploration investment in
WA and will have serious consequences for the State’s future economy,” Dr Walawski said.
“The 2002 Bowler Report predicted that an $80 million fall in annual exploration over five years would result in a $9 billion reduction in State investment, a $42.1 billion fall in exports and the loss of up to 13,000 jobs in the following 20 years.
“Relative to its share of national exploration in 1998, WA lost $309.6 million in the
12 months ending March 2008 alone.”
Dr Walawski said AMEC has developed a plan to reverse the decline in WA’s reputation and market share.
“There are five key areas that need to be addressed immediately,” he said.
The AMEC plan includes the following:
1. The increased competition for exploration investment from other States. South Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland and Victoria now all have Government backed incentive schemes that are encouraging mineral exploration away from WA.
2. The increasing complexity and difficulty of Western Australian approvals processes. Those planning to explore for new mineral deposits in Western Australia have to develop complex and time-consuming approvals applications for more than six different Government Departments, many of which have conflicting charters.
3. An over-burdened Minister. Western Australia’s resources sector is the largest single source of non-Government revenue and will return more than $3.4 billion in royalties and rentals in the 2008/09 financial year. As such, the resources sector demands the full attention of a most senior Ministers at all times.
4. Difficulties with attraction and retention of long term staff in key government agencies. It is widely acknowledged that key government agencies have major difficulties in attracting and retaining well trained, long term staff.
5. Very active promotion of exploration incentives in other jurisdictions. Other States and Territories have realised the enormous long term benefits of a strong mineral exploration sector and have begun aggressively marketing their incentive schemes and supportive Government policies in order to attract investment away from WA.
“It is critical that all candidates in this week’s State election understand the devastating long term effects WA will suffer if the next Government ignores the need to ‘restock the shelves’ and develop future mineral deposits now,” Dr Walawski said.
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