Colin Barnett

Colin Barnett


Richard Court

Richard Court


    Resources industry set to surge ahead under Coalition

    22/01/2001 10:05 AM

    Five major projects worth more than $4.6 billion are about to move into the construction phase.

    There will also be a further 50 per cent expansion of the value of mining and petroleum production by 2010.

    However, the defining feature of this decade will be the emergence of a world scale chemicals industry.

    Releasing the Coalition’s Resources, Mining and Energy policies today, Premier Richard Court and Resources Development and Energy Minister Colin Barnett said Western Australia was a leading export State with more than 26 per cent of national exports.

    Mr Court said this made Western Australia of regional and world significance.

    He said projects soon to be under construction included the:
    • Syntroleum gas-to-liquids plant - $600 million;
    • North West Shelf LNG Train Four - $2.2 billion;
    • Robe River’s West Angelas iron ore project - $1 billion;
    • Alcoa’s Wagerup expansion - $995 million; and -
    • Ravensthorpe Nickel - $720 million.

    The Coalition’s policy targets four key areas - a chemicals industry for the Pilbara, a South-West gas pipeline, the Oakajee Industrial Estate and water supply for the Goldfields.

    “The resurgence of Asia-Pacific growth, the absolute competitive advantage in energy after deregulation and a pro-development Government will be the main economic drivers in the next decade,” Mr Court said.

    “Under a Coalition Government the high standing of the State’s mining and petroleum industries will be enhanced by the emergence of a world-class reputation in research, technology and education.

    “Support and supply industries will expand, particularly in regional areas.”

    Mr Barnett said the natural gas reserves off Australia’s North-West coast represented a resource of immense value and regional significance.

    He said the known reserves of 119 trillion cubic feet could well be shown to be 200 trillion cubic feet.

    “This is a world-class resource,” Mr Barnett said.

    “Its development requires huge investment and raises a number of strategic issues including local participation, greenhouse gases and the allocation of reserves between domestic and export markets.

    “If elected, the Coalition will work towards the development of a world-class chemicals industry based on the State’s abundant resources of natural gas.

    “The Coalition will also work with industry for the joint development of shared infrastructure and utility services on the Burrup Peninsular and the adjacent Maitland Estate as the centre for a new chemicals industry.”

    Mr Barnett said to expedite the project approval process, the Coalition would establish a Ministerial Task Force.

    He said this would be established with full industry participation and would make recommendations on the removal of unnecessary or duplicated steps and provide certainty about the process and timeliness.

    “The Ministerial Taskforce will be an independent body with secretarial support provided through the Department of Resources Development,” Mr Barnett said.

    “It will evaluate the purpose and operational aspects of all approvals with the objective of achieving best practice.

    “A greater degree of self-regulation will be encouraged as long as broad public interest issues are not compromised.”

    Mr Barnett said the Coalition would - in conjunction with the private sector - establish a new gas pipeline connecting Bunbury, Manjimup and Albany.

    He said the Coalition had an outstanding record in developing the State’s gas pipeline infrastructure and the South-West pipeline was the next logical step.

    The Coalition would also begin discussions with industry and Commonwealth and State Governments on a proposed transcontinental pipeline project to be operating by 2010.

    “This is a long-term, nation building project,” Mr Barnett said

    “It is a realistic project with the most likely outcome being a gas pipeline connection between the North-West reserves and the existing pipeline infrastructure feeding out from the Moomba ‘hub’.

    “The approximate 2,000km connecting pipeline could transport gas around $1 a gigajoule.”

    Mr Barnett said the development of the Oakajee Industrial Estate and adjacent multi-user deepwater port was progressing as part of the Coalition’s policy for encouraging downstream processing industries.

    The Oakajee Estate and deepwater port was one of the Coalition’s top priorities for value-adding and economic development.

    Mr Barnett said the Coalition was committed to determining the best overall water supply option for the Goldfields mining industry.

    He said the Coalition would conduct an expression of interest process to attract private sector interest and participation.

    Issues to be addressed included supply quantity and quality, delivered price, environmental impacts and the time frame for development.

    “The mining industry is the dominant user of water in the Goldfields,” Mr Barnett said.

    “Future demand for water in the region is dependent on the long-term prospects of the mining sector which, based on the Southern Cross, Esperance and Northern Goldfields regional mineral studies, are strong.

    “Future water supply is the most pressing issue for the region’s gold and nickel producers.”

    Mr Court said the Coalition would maintain State Government contributions to the underground power project at $6 million a year with a matching contribution from Western Power.

    He said the Coalition’s underground power program was the only such program in Australia and possibly the world.

    “When the initial pilot projects were introduced in 1996 only 18 per cent of the Perth metropolitan area was serviced by underground power,” Mr Court said.

    “By the time the current round two projects are completed, more than 30 per cent of Perth will be serviced by underground power.

    “Given the success and popularity of the underground power program, the Coalition will raise its overall target from 50 per cent to 60 per cent of Perth serviced by underground power by 2010.”

    Mr Barnett said with a world-leading mining industry and a strongly emerging petroleum sector, there was a clear opportunity to further develop all aspects of research and development, training and professional education.

    He said the Coalition would work closely with industry, universities and training organisations to establish Western Australia as the centre for research and education for mining and petroleum in the Asia-Pacific region.

    The Resources Institute would be established to take a leadership role in the development of mining, oil and gas education and research.

    “The institute will be based at the Bentley Technology Park,” Mr Barnett said.

    “Its membership will include representatives from Curtin University, Kalgoorlie School of Mines, Murdoch University, University of WA and CSIRO with industry contributing as key sponsors.”

    Media contacts:

    Justine Whittome (Premier's Office) 9222 9475
    Diana Callander (Minister Barnett's Office) 9222 9699