02/10/2008 - 13:40

Approvals process a mess: CCIWA

02/10/2008 - 13:40

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The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA has told a Senate inquiry into the Varanus Island gas explosion the approvals process has made the state's energy supply structure vulnerable.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA has told a Senate inquiry into the Varanus Island gas explosion the approvals process has made the state's energy supply structure vulnerable.

ABC radio reported that CCIWA chief executive James Pearson as saying the complex environmental and planning process had delayed and stymied new projects.

"The new government should realise the business community has been labouring under a approvals regime which it is finding increasingly frustrating," Mr Pearson was reported as saying outside the inquiry.

"Western Australia is now falling behind other states and territories as a preferred destination for investment; yes it should be a wake up call."

Earlier today, the Australian Hotels Association told the inquiry the gas explosion, which cut the state's gas supply by a third, had pushed gas prices up by 70 per cent.

The AHA also told the inquiry that Alinta's rationing system after the explosion was "unfair".

Meanwhile the Food Industry Association has told the inquiry that power supplier Synergy took advantage of the gas crisis by locking in new contracts at higher than normal prices.

It has been reported that the Domestic Gas Alliance, which represents major industrial gas consumers Verve Energy and Burrup Fertilisers, will also give evidence.

Former energy minister Fran Logan is also expected to front the inquiry later this afternoon, along with the Department of Industry and Resources, Treasury and the Office of Energy.

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