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Nats re-issue call for inquiry into iron ore agreements

The Nationals WA have again called on the McGowan Government to hold a Parliamentary inquiry into legacy State Agreements amid allegations BHP owes taxpayers up to $300 million in unpaid royalties.

The Nationals have made repeated calls for State Parliament’s Economics and Industry Standing Committee to hold an inquiry, all of which have been rejected by Premier Mark McGowan.

“This Labor Government has blocked The Nationals at every turn in our fight to ensure West Australians receive a fair share for our finite resources,” Ms Davies said.

“Labor has chosen to paint The Nationals as anti-mining rather than making sure these agreements – signed more than 50 years ago – still represent a fair deal for the State.

“Now we learn the Premier is in secret negotiations with BHP over allegations they have short-changed the people of Western Australia.

“These secret negotiations are a far cry from the open and transparent approach Mr McGowan promised in Opposition.” 

“If the Premier continues to ignore our calls for an inquiry the people of Western Australia will question who or what he is trying to protect.”

Ms Davies said Mr McGowan had form in standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the big resource companies to the detriment of regional communities.  

“The Premier’s comments last year that he would “not allow anything to get in the way” of Woodside’s request for a 700-bed FIFO camp in Karratha is just one example,” she said.

“The Government has a role to maintain a healthy tension between supporting major projects and negotiating good and fair terms for the people of WA.

“That sometimes means driving a hard bargain to ensure there’s a real lasting legacy for communities impacted by major mining projects.

“It will be interesting to see if the Premier has the stomach to stand up to BHP this time around.”

Ms Davies said The Nationals had raised questions about BHP’s use of Singapore marketing hubs during the 2017 election campaign.

“The issue of mining companies using offshore marketing hubs is not new,” Ms Davies said.

“It is now more important than ever for the Premier to act decisively and restore the public’s confidence in a sector that is critical to our State’s economy.”