16/06/2009 - 15:34

Barnett to meet BHP boss tomorrow

16/06/2009 - 15:34

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Premier Colin Barnett says the government will consider looking at stamp duty legislation as he prepares to meet with BHP Billiton boss Marius Kloppers tomorrow over the Pilbara merger with Rio Tinto.

Barnett to meet BHP boss tomorrow

Premier Colin Barnett says the government will consider looking at stamp duty legislation as he prepares to meet with BHP Billiton boss Marius Kloppers tomorrow over the Pilbara merger with Rio Tinto.

Mr Barnett told journalists today he will be seeking assurances on a number of issues from Mr Kloppers at a meeting scheduled for late tomorrow morning at the Premier's office.

"This is obviously a significant meeting and will be the first of what I would imagine would be of many," he said.

"The main issues for Western Australia will be jobs; I will be seeking some assurance for employment in the iron ore industry now and into the future.

"There would need to be major changes to the state agreement acts and this cannot be done without the agreement without the government and parliament.

"I'll also be looking for a royalty regime which is consistent with all new mines, in other words getting rid of some of those old 1960s concessions where iron ore was sold at half price to two of the wealthiest companies in the world."

The issue of stamp duty, or land taxes, will also be discussed with Mr Barnett previously saying the merger of BHP and Rio's WA iron ore assets was designed in a manner to avoid stamp duty of up to $1 billion.

"We would even consider looking at legislation (over the stamp duty issue); if there's a loophole in the legislation we will close that loophole," Mr Barnett said today.

"However I'm not sure if there's a loophole."

Earlier this month, BHP and Rio announced it will merge their Western Australian iron ore assets into an entity to realise synergies of $US10 billion.

BHP has agreed to pay nearly $US6 billion to Rio to equalise its interest in the merged entity.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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