Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Dave Grills MLC has called on Mark McGowan and WA Labor to back the people of WA instead of the Rio Tinto’s London-based head office, after the company recently announced it would sack 500 workers.
Mr Grills said WA Labor continued to oppose The Nationals WA plan to increase a Special Lease Rental paid by miners to $5 per tonne to reflect modern economic and Industry realities, but had failed to outline its plan for WA’s future.
“Rio Tinto’s recent announcement that it would sack 500 workers before our policy has even been implemented demonstrates a disappointing lack of concern about Western Australian people and jobs,” Mr Grills said.
“If Rio Tinto was thriving at USD$38 a tonne as CEO Sam Walsh stated, and today the spot price is nearly $80/t, why wouldn’t the company invest and employ West Australians when profitability is clearly very strong?
“With Singapore Trading Hubs, Malaysian all centres and Kuala Lumpur HR divisions, Rio Tinto is clearly not working hard enough to protect WA jobs.
“Rio Tinto is shedding staff while profitability increases, and is moving to an automated workforce but seems to think outdated State Agreements from the 1960s shouldn’t be modernised.
“To make matters worse, Labor is siding with big multinationals to protect these legacy State Agreements which are clearly no longer serving West Australian people and communities particularly well.”
Nationals WA Candidate for the Kimberley Rob Houston said it was important that State Agreements reflected the real value of the non-renewable resources being extracted.
“These finite resources ultimately belong to present and future generations of West Australians and should be developed in their best interests,” Mr Houston said.
“I reject the argument that certain legacy State Agreements should be forever locked away and exempt from review or indexation.
“Clearly, the real value of resource development to our communities is not being maintained when jobs are sent offshore and the workforce is automated.”
Mr Houston said The Nationals WA were taking on the issues no other party was prepared to.
“The Nationals WA will hold the big miners to account because we believe government has a duty to the people of WA and to ensure the State receives fair return for our sovereign resources,” Mr Houston said.
“Despite record levels of iron ore production and large profits for the big miners, WA is missing out on the full benefits due to an unfair GST system, increasingly automated mining methods, offshoring of jobs and profits and an unwillingness on the part of both Labor and Liberal to review charges that were set in the 1960s.”
For media enquiries contact Dave Grills MLC on (08) 90711 500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org