18/10/2007 - 15:49

Fall in business support for Industry Department

18/10/2007 - 15:49

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The business sector's satisfaction with the Carpenter government's key industry policy agency has plummeted, according to data compiled by the Department of Industry and Resources.

Fall in business support for Industry Department

The business sector's satisfaction with the Carpenter government's key industry policy agency has plummeted, according to data compiled by the Department of Industry and Resources.

A survey of 235 chief executives found that satisfaction with the department's project facilitation role had fallen to just 60 per cent.

The department has also received a mixed assessment by the ministers it reports to, including premier Alan Carpenter and energy, resources, industry and enterprise minister Francis Logan.

Mr Logan was most critical, stating that:

"As far as I am concerned, the department's performance has not been as good as the previous year. I have been disappointed with the quality of the communication between the department and key stakeholders. I have been disappointed with the pace of delivery of government policy."

Mr Carpenter, who also handles the trade, science and innovation portfolios, was supportive, stating that:

"It would certainly be a wrong conclusion to draw that DOIR's performance has gone backwards."

Mr Carpenter said the state's rapid expansion was creating challenges for the department.

"It is placing pressure on our public sector at many levels including attracting and retaining workers to cope with the increased demand for services. DOIR is doing an excellent job coping with this massive increase in demand."

The department's annual report disclosed that the proportion of chief executives of resource companies who were satisfied with the quality of information provided by the department had tumbled from 96 per cent in 2005-06 to 75 per cent in 2006-07.

Opposition leader Paul Omodei seized on the report to substantiate his claim that industry is losing confidence in the government.

The report also disclosed an increase in the backlog of mineral titles applications and a decline in Western Australia's share of minerals exploration.

Mr Omodei said "key stakeholders" satisfaction that DoIR encouraged a climate conducive to ongoing resources development in WA had also fallen rapidly.

"This level of satisfaction fell from 81% to less than 63%," he said.

"Investor satisfaction with the DoIR was 84 per cent when the Opposition was last in government (2001-02) but this is just 60 per cent today."

"This is a damning indictment of the Carpenter Government in its six years running the state."

The government has repeatedly rejected claims that it is not supporting new development. Mr Carpenter has previously said WA has a competitive projects approvals process, and has pointed to record levels of business investment and exploration spending.

The report's release coincides with the government's evaluation of a functional review of DoIR, which was completed earlier this year by former BankWest chief and current LandCorp chairman Terry Budge.

It also follows the planned retirement of DoIR's long-serving director general Jim Limerick.

 

Mr Omodei's and Mr Carpenter's statements are pasted below:

 

Dissatisfaction with poor planning of boom

 

Western Australia's mining sector is fast losing confidence in the Carpenter Government's ability to properly plan for their industry.

This fact is driven home by the Department of Industry and Resources annual report 2006-07 that damns the department by statistics from all aspects of the industries it serves.

Opposition Leader and Shadow Mines and Resources Minister Paul Omodei said satisfaction with the quality of resource sector information provided by the department plummeted more than 20 per cent in the last financial year.

"The report shows the bosses of many of the companies driving this boom feel the department that works under the direction of the Premier, his Treasurer and his Energy Minister, isn't performing," Mr Omodei said.

"This goes to the heart of the Carpenter Government's economic mismanagement - they are squandering our children's future by wasting this once-in-a-century boom.

"We are living in the greatest economic boom in our State's history and WA is not making the most of the global resources boom.

"Certainly, industry satisfaction shows the government is deficient in its infrastructure planning, project co-ordination and assistance with approvals.

"Dissatisfaction with the department's quality of information available to investors came from CEOs and Managing Directors* of resource companies in Western Australia.

"There was a 96% satisfaction rating in 2005-06 and this had fallen to 75% in 2006-07.

"The Mineral title backlog has increased to 18,700 applicants**.

"WA's percentage of international mineral exploration expenditure in WA has fallen and is below target***."

Mr Omodei said key stakeholders**** satisfaction that DoIR encouraged a climate conducive to ongoing resources development in WA had also fallen rapidly.

"This level of satisfaction fell from 81% to less than 63%," he said.

"Investor satisfaction with the DoIR was 84 per cent when the Opposition was last in government (2001-02) but this is just 60 per cent today*****.

"This is a damning indictment of the Carpenter Government in its six years running the state.

"It supports the Opposition's stance that China's economic boom is the greatest stroke of luck any resource-rich State Government could have.

"The Carpenter Government's economic mismanagement and the DoIR's performance are threatening the future resource growth of WA."

Source - Department of Industry and Resources annual report 2006-07:

* p98 of DoIR report refers to 'Readers' as being represented by CEOS and Managing Directors of resource companies in WA. 182 such contacts were provided to an independent market research company

** p13

*** p103

****p98 'Stakeholders' are represented by parties, other than resource companies, which have an interest in the Department's promotion of the State Resource Sector. They include other Government departments, Local Government bodies and peak industry representative bodies

***** p99

See also:

p97 Ministerial review of performance

p100 Rating of geoscience information products declines

 

Premier's statement:

 

"It would certainly be a wrong conclusion to draw that DOIR's performance has gone backwards.

"The report has to be read in its entirety.

"As I have consistently said, the WA economy and resources sector is growing at a rate we have never experienced.

"There is $100 billion worth of projects either committed, under construction or under consideration in WA over the next few years.

"It is presenting us with challenges.

"It is placing pressure on our public sector at many levels including attracting and retaining workers to cope with the increased demand for services.

"DOIR is doing an excellent job coping with this massive increase in demand.

"Woodside boss, Don Voelte, only last week described WA as having a world class regulatory environment.

"The Annual Report (p.104) highlighted a stunning increase in the area of Western Australia under mineral exploration title. It is 407,000 square kilometres in 2006/07 compared to 315,000 square kilometres the previous year.

"Private new Capital Expenditure in WA has also doubled from $10 billion in 2004/05 to $20 billion in 2006/07. This is extraordinary. It accounts for half the nation's growth in private capital investment in the same period.

"In per capita terms, Private New Capital Investment in WA is now three times the Australian average.

"This is all being achieved in an environment where the State has experienced a decline in redistribution of funds from the Federal Government.

"However this Government has never rested on its laurels. It is always aiming to do things better and that's what this annual report clearly demonstrates."

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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