02/09/2008 - 11:39

AMEC urges action for WA mining policy

02/09/2008 - 11:39

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A mining lobby group has outlined its election wishlist for the next state government in a bid to restore Western Australia's mining policy reputation.

A mining lobby group has outlined its election wishlist for the next state government in a bid to restore Western Australia's mining policy reputation.

The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies said WA's plummeting reputation for mining policy had recently been placed in the 'room to improve' category compared to other states by the world renowned Fraser Institute.

"This fall in reputation is directly correlated with the worst decline in the mineral exploration investment in WA and will have serious consequences for the state's future economy," AMEC chief executive Justin Walawski said.

Dr Walawski called the state government to address the complex approvals process, the increased competition for exploration investments from other states, long term staff retention and promotion of exploration incentives.

AMEC has previously called for a single resources portfolio. Currently Eric Ripper holds the state development portfolio and Francis Logan is minister for energy, resources, industry and enterprise.

AMEC's calls were echoed by the Chamber of Minerals and Energy WA which said better planning in the resources sector needed to be considered by political parties in the lead up to the September 6 election.

The CME said its main concerns were water, people and energy, and the need for a long-term plan.

"The greatest threat to sustained development is the absence of vision for state growth," CME chief executive Reg Howard-Smith said.

He added that greater investment was needed in key physical infrastructure areas of ports, road and rail to maximize and sustain investment in the resources sector.

"Linked with this should be a State Energy Policy that provides a safe, efficient and reliable energy supply that ensures the long-term competitiveness and viability of our industry as well as the wellbeing of the greater WA community," he said.

The CME is calling for the establishment of a comprehensive land use planning process that requires timely consultation with stakeholders on social, cultural, environmental and economic values.

It said such a planning process is critical to ensuring an effective approvals process.

"Underpinning this approach should be a comprehensive knowledge of the values of the land under determination, including biodiversity and mineral prospectivity," Mr Howard-Smith said.

The CME also supports a measured introduction of an emissions trading scheme to protect Western Australia's highly valuable export sector until other countries come on board.

It also reiterated its opposition to the introduction of legislation or policy that seeks to ban the mining of uranium in the state.

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