The State Opposition's attack on the BHP power station and gas pipeline is yet again casting a cloud of uncertainty over major development projects in Western Australia.
Deputy Premier and State Development Minister Ian Taylor said that through its actions, the Opposition was jeopardising all future investment in the State.
"The list of projects they have opposed in some way or another includes Port Kennedy, Compact Steel's feasibility study, the Caltex tanks development, Edgell-Birdseye, the Wesfi expansion, and so the list goes on," Mr Taylor said.
"Their whingeing over the Morley shopping centre redevelopment also was a classic case of thumbing their nose at hundreds of new jobs and development."
Mr Taylor said the Opposition knew that the BHP development was coming up and had talked about it in glowing terms in Parliament.
They had been briefed on the matter and were also told on December 2, 1992, that Mr Dick Carter was to be appointed to the Pilbara Development Commission.
Mr Taylor said he was happy to make the BHP agreement details public. All of these Agreement Acts were between 20 and 30 years old and could not seriously be expected to produce any tangible results.
The action which had been taken was similar to that for CRA, which resulted in the $150 million HIsmelt research and development facility being built at Kwinana - the only difference was that the BHP development would provide immediate and major benefits to the Pilbara.
"The secondary processing obligations under Agreement Acts are a thing of the past," Mr Taylor said.
"An examination of all of the existing 22 Agreement Acts shows that only two have discharged their obligations - the BHP Steel Industry Agreement Act (construction of a blast furnace at Kwinana, which was closed many years ago) and the Iron Ore Robe River Agreement Act (a pelletising plant which also was closed).
"This agreement with BHP is the real way to go with adding value, as outlined in the State Government's `Adding Value' document.
"It is about providing the power, infrastructure and other needs which will attract the value-adding industries to the region.
"It is arrant nonsense to suggest that BHP timed this announcement to suit the Government and, what is more, the Opposition knows that.
"On December 2, 1992, Richard Court said in Parliament that BHP would shortly announce a gas-fired power station at Hedland along with the pipeline proposal.
"Mr Court also said `this is the type of development that we should have encouraged'.
"Where is he today?
"He is whingeing because BHP did what he said it was going to do, and he has spat the dummy because this Government has been given recognition for making this and other projects happen."