04/10/2005 - 22:00

Birney steps out with policy plank

04/10/2005 - 22:00


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Matt Birney’s Liberal Party manifesto announced at the weekend marks a key point in his fledging leadership.While publicity about his plan was largely overwhelmed by the news of new bombings in Bali, there were several initiatives of interest to business

Firstly, Mr Birney has stressed he is pro-development.

A key plank in that is his policy of having a lead agency role for government to deal with development applications in any sector, be it property, mining, health or tourism.

The Liberal plan is that developers will go to a single relevant agency and that government department will be responsible for dealing with approvals required from other departments. To make this work effectively he proposes a deadline be created that will allow project proponents the opportunity to take grievances concerning delays and the like to an arbitrator.

This policy, in its raw form, will be welcomed by business.

WA Business News holds regular industry forums and one consistent message from business is the difficulty of dealing with many different departments when it comes to getting project approval.

The time consumed getting a suite of approvals can erode the cost-effectiveness of a project and, quite often, means a once possible venture is abandoned because market conditions have changed.

Under present conditions, for instance, a mining project delayed two or three years faces vastly higher labour, skills and materials prices than at the outset of the approvals process. While the underlying operational margins may remain healthy the construction cost blow-out can be fatal. That costs future jobs and state revenue.

It is also pleasing to see Mr Birney’s Liberals have backed the mining of uranium. The Liberal leader said the delay in approving this stance was simply a matter of due process, but many of us were wondering what sort of Liberal Party it was that did not support this form of mining?

Frank appraisal


A interesting discussion point in our office this week has been the publicity surrounding Franklin and Heather Tate’s salary packages from their roles at struggling winemaker Evans & Tate.

Mr Tate has always enjoyed the limelight in his high-profile role with his popular winery, so it is perhaps not that surprising that the spotlight (or is that searchlight?) has remained on him during his troubled times – mostly from our friends at The West Australian newspaper.

In our ‘Best value CEO’ feature later in the year we will compare salaries and company performance, but given the annual report of The West’s parent company is out, I thought it might be fun to compare remuneration of its directors and executives with relevant, available performance data.


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