John Bowler

John Bowler

Former Minister for Local Government; Employment Protection; Racing and Gaming; Goldfields-Esperance and Great Southern

    Turnaround for mining giant over ratings study

    27/10/2006 4:45 PM

    Resources Minister John Bowler has welcomed an eleventh-hour turnaround by mining giant Rio Tinto to participate in a local government ratings study.

    Mr Bowler said he was disappointed it had taken Rio Tinto so long to fully co-operate in the process, especially as the company had agreed to do so when the study was announced as a 2005 Labor election commitment.

    However, the Minister received verbal support from Rio Tinto shortly before he met with Western Australian Local Government association president Bill Mitchell today to discuss progress on the ratings study.

    Five other mining companies have already agreed to participate in the study.

    In a major commitment to local government authorities across the State, the Carpenter Government has promised to phase out clauses in State Mining Agreements that prevent local government authorities from fully rating major projects.

    Rating exemption clauses have already been abolished from all new agreements, allowing the Pilbara councils, for example, to fully rate the Gorgan Gas Project and FMG’s Pilbara Infrastructure Project.

    “The Carpenter Government supports local governments in their attempt to gain a fairer share of rates,” Mr Bowler said.

    “Local government authorities are significant contributors to the amenity of communities across WA and need to have a sustainable rate base.

    “Without a fair rates contribution from mining companies, other residents and businesses are forced to bear the burden.”

    The Minister said the ratings study was examining the rates forgone by local government, as a result of the ratings clause exemptions.

    “While promoting the growth of industry across the State, the Carpenter Government will continue to work to deliver greater benefits to local governments and the regional communities they serve,” he said.

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