12/08/2010 - 00:00

Labour supply vital for mining sector

12/08/2010 - 00:00

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Ensuring a stable, competitive investment environment would be a positive first step by the next federal government.

AS the federal election approaches, Western Australia’s mining and petroleum sector urges the major political parties to support policies that secure the long-term international competitiveness of the industry.

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia calls on the next government to provide certainty for the industry by promoting a stable, competitive investment environment, along with helping meet labour and infrastructure demands.

The Australian sector’s sovereign risk profile has taken a battering during the recent debate over the now-discredited Resource Super Profits Tax.

Our member companies are seeking certainty, so they can proceed with the next generation of resource projects, worth billions to the national economy.

A strong resource sector means sustained economic growth and jobs and opportunities for all Australians – something our political leaders need to recognise.

Priority areas for the industry include, but are not limited to the following:

Minerals tax

At the very least, exclude magnetite iron ore from the proposed MRRT, on the basis that magnetite ore, in its raw state, is a low-value product – and requires significant processing, before it becomes commercially viable.

The impact of the new tax on the competitiveness of junior explorers and WA’s emerging magnetite and hematite projects, along with the impact of the expanded Petroleum Resource Rent Tax on existing gas projects, should also be considered.

Labour supply

Strengthen skilled migration programs; proceed with targeted investment in skills and training opportunities for school leavers and the unemployed; and invest in programs aimed at increasing employment participation rates for Indigenous communities and women.

Infrastructure and services

Invest in essential infrastructure, including transport corridors, water and energy supplies, particularly in regional areas.

Investment is also needed in services, including health and education and training.

Develop future water sources, to help sustain the next period of sustained economic growth.

Approvals

Remove the duplication of processes and reduce the amount of regulation by multiple authorities and regulatory agencies. This includes the re-drafting of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 to simplify, streamline and reduce the duplication of processes under the Act; and include social and economic assessments, in conjunction with consideration of environmental and cultural values, in federal land use planning processes, such as the current National Heritage assessment for the Kimberley region.

Climate change

Ensure domestic action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is calibrated with global efforts and does not compromise the international competitiveness of Australia’s trade-exposed industries.

Promote joint government and industry efforts to adopt new low-carbon technologies.

• Reg Howard-Smith is chief executive of the Chamber of Minerals and Energy WA. This is an edited extract from the CME’s pre-election statement.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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