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Investment in WA’s resources sector is investment in Australia’s green energy future

“Our sector contributes so much to the WA and Australian economies that – at Budget time in particular – it’s important that we all support the industries that will help our communities and businesses thrive.”

CME Chief Executive Officer, Rebecca Tomkinson

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA (CME) has acknowledged the State Government’s ongoing investment in the resources sector, and its adoption of key recommendations in CME’s Pre-Budget Submission via a raft of initiatives linked to today’s State Budget.

CME Chief Executive Officer, Rebecca Tomkinson, said today’s announcement to invest in strategic industrial areas (SIAs) across WA had been a significant platform on which CME had advocated to State and Federal Governments, and indicated positive signs of support for the sector.

“Turnkey SIAs which are ready to go with all necessary amenities are more likely to attract investment than a parcel of land that still requires infrastructure, facilities and associated approvals to get off the ground. If it’s not turnkey there’s no certainty for industry and it risks a lot of wasted project time,” Ms Tomkinson said.

“A $500 million commitment through the new Strategic Industries Fund is certainly welcome, but as it’s stretched over 13 sites we’re mindful of ensuring those funds are strategically targeted if we’re to compete with international jurisdictions.

“Similarly, $125 million to open up new industrial land in Kwinana is positive, particularly noting the strong demand which has seen it approach capacity. Adequate supply of affordable and reliable energy as well as transport infrastructure will be essential to support its growth going forward.

“As always, consultation with industry will be critical to ensure public investments in SIAs are deployed to where they will be most impactful.”

Ms Tomkison added that whilst the investment in common user infrastructure through the Strategic Industries Fund was welcomed, it was important to consider the end-to-end requirements of SIAs.

“The government needs to take a lead in progressing stakeholder engagement plus heritage and environmental assessments for the SIAs so they go from undeveloped land to turnkey and ready to go,” she said.

“Competitor jurisdictions including North America have attractive incentives to move into promoted industrial areas. Similarly, Ontario’s ‘Investment Ready: Certified Site Program’ in Canada, is taking advantage of emerging critical minerals opportunities.

“That program ensures each site is fully serviced with electricity, gas, waste, wastewater and telecommunications. Importantly, they also have guarantees of site suitability, including for zoning and environmental and cultural protection, as well as broader supports under their ESG framework allowing projects to hit the ground running.

“While no one is expecting WA to match other jurisdictions dollar for dollar on some of their significant funding initiatives, targeted government investment and up-front co-ordination of these processes is a critical enabler of growth. It would mean certainty for investors that industrial land is project-ready and WA is supportive of development.”

Ms Tomkinson also highlighted the State Government’s commitment to approvals reform with the announcement of $36 million aimed at delivering WA’s environmental assessment framework more efficiently.

“CME has consistently called for more efficiency in environmental assessment practices and better-resourced teams to address backlogs,” she said.

“We’ve outlined this strongly in our Pre-Budget Submission so it is pleasing to see our recommendation adopted and $14.1 million allocated for the establishment of cross-sector triage teams across regulatory agencies.

“Our sector contributes so much to the WA and Australian economies that – at Budget time in particular – it’s important that we all support the industries that will help our communities and businesses thrive.”

Ms Tomkinson noted CME was also hoping to see further commitments aimed at progressing WA’s cleaner energy objectives following the State Government’s Energy Transition Summit in November last year. She said CME was keen to see if key recommendations in their Pre-Budget Submission would be addressed at today’s budget announcements.


Media contact: Natasha Mutch