14/09/2004 - 22:00

Walawski mines a new vein

14/09/2004 - 22:00

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While pre-competitive geoscientific information may seem an awkward term to Justin Walawski, one thing he is not confused about is what his new role as chief executive of the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies entails.

Walawski mines a new vein

While pre-competitive geoscientific information may seem an awkward term to Justin Walawski, one thing he is not confused about is what his new role as chief executive of the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies entails.

Mr Walawski told WA Business News that he wanted to raise the commercial profile of both the mining industry and of the association.

And as a former CPA Australia (WA) director and a director of the Institute of Professional development he should be well qualified to do that.

Mr Walawski recently replaced former AMEC chief executive Anne Arnold who went to the Real Estate Institute of WA as its new CEO.

He comes to AMEC after a short-lived role in his own business, after his CPA (WA) position.

After establishing a business assisting business executives with their professional development, Mr Walawski said he wanted a new challenge and that led him to AMEC.

He said his strong commercial background was a factor in his recent appointment.

“I bring a different perspective on things which will be beneficial,” Mr Walawski said.

“Given the contribution the mining industry makes to Australia I find it odd, its position is not top of mind for both [State and Federal] governments.

“What the industry would like to see is incentives,” he said referring to the absence of tax incentives for exploration investors as well as increased public funding for geo-scientific information in the May Federal budget.

The industry has been lobbying strongly for the incentives for a number of years now and more recently they were included as several key recommendations made to government in the Mineral Exploration Action Agenda.

Mr Walawski said while the State Government had recently made some geoscientific funding available, he felt mining and exploration was being unfairly penalised when compared to a number of other industries.

He said the olive, pine and blue gum plantation industries currently attracted tax concessions, which made them attractive for investment.

“Contrast that with exploration and we see it is unfairly handi-capped.  Given the contribution the exploration and mining sector could make to the Australian economy, it makes absolutely no sense to effectively penalise this industry relative to others,” Mr Walawski said.

He said Australia might not be able to meet the huge demand from China if exploration levels continued to decline.

Land access is another critical issue in WA.

“Unless the land is demonstrably ecologically or proven to be culturally sensitive it should be made available for mineral exploration,” Mr Walawski said.

“Without all facts and assessments, including mineral exploration you can’t make a qualified judgment [about its use].”

While issues such as land access and access to finance are critical to the whole of the mining industry, Mr Walawski said he also wanted to improve the AMEC’s commercial contribution to members.

He said increasing amounts of corporate red tape and public disclosure regulations were emerging issues for smaller mining and exploration companies, which AMEC regards as its core membership.

As a result the association has recently established a new ASX/ASIC committee to assist its members.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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