THE State Government is committed to the development of a strong, diversified and sustainable economic base that provides high-quality jobs, income growth and a continually improving quality of life for all Western Australians.
Our approach to economic development is based on a commitment to the view that the State Government’s role is not to be in business but rather to assist the business sector to create wealth that will benefit the State as a whole.
This agenda is currently being progressed through the development of a State Industry Policy to provide a clear expression of the Government’s vision for future economic development in Western Australia.
We have made – and will continue to make – significant improvements in areas as diverse as State taxes, the project approvals system, business regulation and reducing red tape, and the energy market.
Infrastructure provision has been a significant feature of the Government’s term in office. A significant proportion of government spending has been directed to productive infrastructure such as railways, roads, ports and airports, particularly in regional areas.
For example, we have provided more than $136 million toward infrastructure costs on the Burrup Peninsula, which has created interest among proponents of prospective gas processing projects worth more than $5 billion. These will potentially generate nearly 800 permanent jobs and thousands more during the construction phase.
Public submissions are being sought in response to a plan by ChevronTexaco to develop the Gorgon gas reserves offshore from Dampier.
The plan involves the possible use of a limited area of the A-class nature reserve, Barrow Island.
The Burrup has also seen downstream processing in companies such as Burrup Fertilsers – the world’s biggest ammonia plant – an Indian backed company that has secured the $630 million dollar project.
Methanex is also looking at a $1 billion methanol processing plant, with WA set to benefit from the convergence of international technological expertise and new investment.
Liquigaz (GTL Resources) is also looking
at a similar operation worth around $610 million. This plant is hoping to produce 1,000,000 tonnes of methanol each year for export over a life of
more than 25 years.
The State Government has allocated $62.5 million for the Business Exit Assistance scheme to assist businesses directly affected by the Regional Forest Agreement and the ‘Protecting Our Old Growth Forests’ policy.
Back in Perth, construction of the first stages of the Australian Marine Complex (AMC) in Cockburn Sound is also now complete, with heavy industry clients already taking advantage of the major marine facility.
In fact Tenix Defence and Austal have been short-listed for the contract to build the Royal Australian Navy’s replacement patrol boats.
The final contract could involve building up to 15 new patrol boats for the navy, estimated to be worth around $375 million.
The State’s technological and knowledge infrastructure needs also are being met through a broad range of activities, including continued support for infrastructure precincts, such as Bentley Technology Park, and the provision of significant funding to R&D.
Under preparation is a Western Australian Trade and Investment Strategy aimed at doubling the number of local exporters over the next five years and ensuring that WA is recognised as a preferred location for investment in the Asia-Pacific region.
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