PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Western Australian mining industry has welcomed Premier Colin Barnett’s new Cabinet appointments, but has urged the new members not to waste time in implementing commitments made during the state election campaign.
The newly elected Barnett on Wednesday announced the new state Cabinet, appointing former Environment Minister Bill Marmion to take on the mantle of Mines and Petroleum Minister.
Albert Jacob has been appointed the new Minister for Environment and Heritage.
The Chamber of Minerals and Energy (CME) said on Wednesday that it was looking forward to working with Marmion, and has urged the new state government to implement commitments made during the run-up to the state elections.
Of particular interest was the expansion of the Department of Mines and Petroleum’s approvals tracking scheme into the Department of Water, the Department of Environment Regulation and the Environmental Protection Authority.
The CME said the development of a publically available online biodiversity, water and cultural heritage database and virtual library was also of import, along with the creation of a separate dedicated environmental regulatory department to look over all environmental approvals, associated enforcement and waste management functions.
The CME noted that the major challenge facing the state’s resources sector was the rising cost of doing business.
“Our attractiveness as a place to develop resources projects is under threat due to additional layers of taxation and charges which are driving up business costs,” CME CEO Reg Howard-Smith said.
“Policy initiatives that focus on reducing costs, duplication and red tape will deliver ongoing economic benefits to all Western Australians.”
Howard-Smith added that Barnett’s strong statement opposing additional levies and taxes on the resources sector showed a clear understanding of the challenges faced by the sector.
Meanwhile, the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (Amec) said Marmion’s previous role as Minister for Environment and Water had prepared him well for his new portfolio.
“Leading up to the state election the Liberals released their Mines and Petroleum Policy, which recognised numerous recommendations from the Amec Policy Platform. Key commitments included allocating additional funds to expand the existing approvals tracking system and the continuation of the existing Exploration Incentive Scheme,” said CEO Simon Bennison on Wednesday.
“Amec is looking forward to working with the new Cabinet to ensure these commitments are implemented.”