WA Premier Barnett Looks After Workers Conditions

WA Premier Barnett Looks After Workers Conditions

Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett

Changes To State Agreements Will Modernise Iron Ore Industry

Victor P Taffa

Changes to 11 Iron Ore State Agreements held by BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto will enable the integration of infrastructure, modernise definitions and allow the State Government to allocate $350 Million toward the new children’s hospital, to be built at the QEII Medical Centre.

Premier Colin Barnett today introduced the Iron Ore Agreements Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2010, which will be debated next week, to State Parliament.

Mr. Barnett said the amendments would give the companies the flexibility to improve their efficiency and facilitate expansions of their operations, with further flow-on benefits for the people of Western Australia.

 

 

“Under the State Agreements, the companies are actually restricted in what they can do with their own operations.  After 50 years of operation of the Pilbara iron ore industry, the State Government will allow the industry to modernise and give the companies the option of integrating their operations should they choose to do so in future.” the Premier said.

“In recognition of the value these changes will deliver to the companies, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto has agreed to make a one-off payment of $350 Million to the State once the Bill receives royal assent. These monies will assist in the funding of the new children’s hospital.”

“The two companies have abandoned their joint venture proposal however these changes will allow them to integrate their operations should they choose to do so in future.” Premier Barnett said.

Some of the changes include:

  • Unrestricted ability for existing facilities and infrastructure to be used by other Integration Proponents;
  • Ability for existing infrastructure to be expanded, new infrastructure to be built and for connections between Integration projects;
  • Ability for an Integration Proponent to receive and use electricity generated by another Integration Proponent, and for nominated Integration Proponents to be able to expand or construct new electricity generation facilities and transmission lines to supply electricity to other Integration Agreement projects;
  • A clause has been added to enable development of private railways, subject to the Minister’s prior approval, as there is no current provision in these Agreements or other legislation which enables either new mainlines or spur lines to be developed;

A range of minor amendments have been included to modernise and standardise definitions, terms and procedures across all 11 State Agreements.

BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are two of the most significant contributors to the State’s economy, directly employing more than 17,000 people and contributing more than $29 Billion to the economy each year.  Their combined royalty contribution to the State is expected to reach $1.5 Billion this year, equal to 45 % of the total Royalties Income for the State.

Legislation to bring royalty payments by BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto into line with other Iron Ore Producers received Royal Assent on August 26, 2010.