Labor must come clean with the Port Hedland community if it intends to scrap the long-awaited Spoilbank Marina project, according to Nationals WA Mining and Pastoral Hon Jacqui Boydell MLC.
The Nationals Deputy Leader slammed comments by Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan that the $152 million marina may not go ahead under Labor.
“Port Hedland residents have waited a quarter century for this project and after just six weeks in the chair the new Minister is destroying community confidence,” Ms Boydell said.
“Let’s not forget that Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel and the Minister promised the marina would go ahead during the election campaign. Along with their gutting of Royalties for Regions, Labor is racking up broken promises at world record pace.”
When in government The Nationals committed to build the Spoilbank Marina with a Royalties for Regions contribution of $72 million. A further $40 million was pledged from consolidated funds to go with a $40 million contribution from the Town of Port Hedland.
Ms Boydell said the Minister’s accusations of insufficient planning for the ongoing maintenance of the marina beyond the first three years were a smokescreen.
“As with every Royalties for Regions funded project, the marina was subject to a rigorous business case and approved by Cabinet,” Ms Boydell said.
“The Minister is using maintenance issues as a veil to hide the Government’s agenda of funneling money earmarked for the regions into pet projects in Perth.
“Labor never cared about the Pilbara before Royalties for Regions and, unfortunately, a similar pattern is emerging now they’re back in government.”
Ms Boydell said it was no secret BHP Billiton and other major port users did not want the Port Hedland marina build at the spoilbank due to concerns about their nearby shipping channel.
She said the Minister’s actions echoed Premier Mark McGowan’s comments at a Chamber of Minerals and Energy function last week where he said the Labor Government would employ a “lighter touch” when working with the big miners.
“Is this the Minister’s way of protecting BHP?” Ms Boydell said. “It’s disappointing that the Minister supposedly responsible for regional development would bow to the wishes of a multinational mining company ahead of the community’s.”