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CME Welcomes Gary Gray Appointment to Resources & Energy Portfolio

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia (CME) welcomes the appointment of Minister Gary Gray to the Resources and Energy portfolio.

“It is good news that the important Resources and Energy portfolio has been given to a Western Australian, given the Western Australian resources sector accounts for 46 per cent of Australia’s national merchandise export income,” said CME Chief Executive, Reg Howard-Smith.

“Gary Gray is well known to the Western Australian resources sector. As parliamentary secretary in Gary chaired the National Resource Sector Employment Taskforce (NRSET), which brought together employment and training agencies, unions and employers to examine ways of dealing with the skill shortages on major resource projects,” said Mr Howard-Smith.

“Without being too parochial, getting key political and bureaucratic figures from Canberra to understand the operating context of the WA resource sector is a challenge. Gary brings to the portfolio significant understanding of that operating environment.

Prior to entering Parliament in 2007, Gary Gray spent time working in leadership roles with Woodside Petroleum.

CME also paid tribute to former Minister Martin Ferguson for his strong advocacy on behalf of the sector and commonsense approach to policy.

“Martin Ferguson was a strong Minister with a very good understanding of the challenges faced by the sector. He was always willing to have frank conversations and look for policy solutions to deal with issues in the resource sector,” Mr Howard-Smith said.

Mr Howard-Smith said the resource sector’s major challenge is the rising cost of doing business in Western Australia.

“Policy initiatives that focus on reducing costs, duplication and red tape will deliver ongoing economic benefits to all Western Australians,” Mr Howard-Smith said.

“Unfortunately we are becoming a less attractive place to develop resources projects when compared with global resource rich nations and investment may be driven to other, lower cost, regions because of additional layers of taxation and charges which are continuing to drive up cost for doing business,” Mr Howard-Smith said.

Sensible policy initiatives in this area are the only way to ensure costs of resources projects remain competitive to ensure the next wave of investment yet to be committed will return the economic benefit to all Australians going forward.

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