01/05/2008 - 14:24

Paid parental leave, energy policy top Buswell agenda

01/05/2008 - 14:24

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Embattled state opposition leader Troy Buswell used a pre-planned address to a business lunch today to outline his policy agenda, which includes proposals for state-funded paid parental leave, a state energy strategy and improved approvals for projects.

Paid parental leave, energy policy top Buswell agenda

Embattled state opposition leader Troy Buswell used a pre-planned address to a business lunch today to outline his policy agenda, which includes proposals for state-funded paid parental leave, a state energy strategy and improved approvals for projects.
Mr Buswell's address to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) function coincided with speculation over his tenure, after revelations about his 'chair sniffing' incident.

Full Statement Below

Paid parental leave part of building a lasting future for WA

Paid parental leave, a State Energy Plan and an overhaul of the approvals process for the minerals and energy sector are among the policy directions and initiatives outlined to move WA towards a more prosperous future.

Liberal Leader Troy Buswell today outlined the initiatives with the release of his document Building a Lasting Vision for Western Australia at a keynote speech to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia.

Mr Buswell said the document represented a major step forward in the WA Liberal Party's thinking on policy issues.

Mr Buswell said three core elements of his vision for the state were to:

- Establish Western Australia as a global hub for the minerals and energy sector
- Diversify our service sector and support the enhancement of our human capital base
- Ensure that our world class quality of life here in WA is integral to our economic success

"While it is too early to make specific major commitments in respect of policy it is right that we give the people of Western Australian an idea of the direction in which we are heading," Mr Buswell said.

"To achieve a better future for WA it's vital we ensure the quality of life here in WA is a major contributor to our economic success. Families are an integral part of that.

"One of the measures I believe we need to look at to combat this is the provision of some form of state-funded parental leave.

"There are a variety of models for this already in operation in various developed countries but so far neither the Australian Federal Government nor any of the States have implemented it.

"The basic principle to this kind of system is that the State reimburses employers for providing a period of paid leave around the birth (and in some systems adoption) of a child.

"It is also concerning that this State does not, as yet, have a coordinated and integrated State Energy Plan.

"The lack of such a plan is one of the key reasons that WA is facing a crisis with our domestic gas supply.

"A State Energy Plan is urgently needed to secure WA's long-term domestic energy supplies, coordinate the provision of infrastructure and diversify the energy mix in the State.
"Again we will consult with industry and other stakeholders and work out the detail of this in the coming months.

"Over the coming months my team will work with industry to identify structural reforms that will improve the approvals process while retaining necessary safeguards.

"It is astonishing that there are currently almost as many exploration licenses and mining leases waiting to get through the process as there in operation around the State.

"It is also deeply concerning that according to the investment index in the Fraser Institute Survey of Mining Companies Western Australia has dropped from ranking 1st preferred place to do business in 2003 to 27th today.

"In the same survey, on the ranking for duplication and inconsistencies within the approvals process, Western Australia dropped from being ranked 6th most favorably in 2003 to 24th in 2007.

"Business accepts that proper processes need to be in place to safeguard the environment but there does need to be consistency and timeliness."

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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