Mark McGowan has committed to expand Henderson’s Australian Marine Complex into one of the nation’s largest technology parks if Labor is successful in next month’s state election.
Mr McGowan said Labor would remove barriers to investment at the AMC by amending legislation to bring the approvals process under one government body.
“We will set in train a change to the AMC that will create thousands of manufacturing jobs and attract investment in the marine, defence, mining and oil and gas engineering sectors,” he said in a statement.
“WA Labor’s changes will transform the AMC and surrounding area into one of the nation’s biggest industry technology parks.”
In addition to the legislative changes, Mr McGowan said Labor would also commit to expanding the boundaries of the complex.
“These changes will immediately create much-needed large lay-down areas for upcoming oil, gas and mining projects, something that cannot be achieved within the confines of the existing AMC,” he said.
“This will attract these projects to the AMC, directly leading to more jobs in the fabrication, manufacturing and associated service sectors.”
Commerce Minister Simon O’Brien attacked Mr McGowan’s announcement for lacking detail, labelling it as: “nothing but another attempt by them to recreate history."
Mr O’Brien said the AMC had been a huge success, generating more than $1.4 billion for the local economy since 2003.
Mr O’Brien also refuted Mr McGowan’s claim that the AMC was a Labor creation, saying it was first announced in 1998 by then-prime minister John Howard and Liberal premier Richard Court.
According to Mr O’Brien, the complex was initially known as the Jervoise Bay Infrastructure Development Plan and was funded jointly by the Court and Howard governments.
“If Labor were serious about the economic growth of WA and creating jobs, it would do more than mouth empty platitudes with no funding and no detail,” Mr O’Brien said.
“The only way AMC could be an even bigger success would be if Labor reigned in their union mates at the MUA who are the greatest obstacle to further job generation and investment at the complex.”