News Column

A New Era of Reform Needed

April 29, 2014



PERTH, Australia, April 29 -- The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia issued the following news release:

Delegates at the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia' s (CME) 113th Annual General Meeting have discussed the need for a new era of reform in order for the Western Australian resource sector to continue to prosper into the future.

CME Chief Executive Reg Howard-Smith said while the Western Australian resources sector growth continues to deliver real benefits to the community, the sector needs governments to implement a new era of reform.

"The Western Australian resources sector has faced a growing challenge in recent years to maintain its international competitiveness as the costs of doing business have continued to rise without a commensurate rise in productivity. The last 12-18 months for the sector have been characterised - across all commodities - by belt tightening and getting our own costs down," said Mr Howard-Smith.

With both the State and Federal Budget's due to be delivered over the next fortnight, the sector is looking for governments to do the same and to remove the imposed costs of inefficient regulatory frameworks which burden industry and put a brake on productive growth across the economy.

"We need to usher in a new era of reform, focused on boosting economic growth, improving productivity and improving our international competitiveness," said Mr Howard-Smith.

CME has welcomed the Australian Government's commitment to repeal inefficient and ineffective regulation including through the establishment of dedicated repeal days in the parliamentary calendar. Of course the most important immediate legislative repeals for our industry and the Australian economy remain the removal of the Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) and the Carbon Tax.

CME has consistently expressed concerns that the MRRT is administratively onerous and costly. It falls significantly short of delivering the genuine tax reform needed to ensure Australia's productivity improves.

"Our future pipeline of resource projects is dependent on having the right investment environment and utilising our competitive and natural advantages," said Mr Howard-Smith.

With the focus on a new era of reform, Warren Mundine, Chair of the Prime Ministers Indigenous Advisory Council and Managing Director of NynggaBlack discussed with delegates the reform agenda for Indigenous Australians. In particular, the complex web of Indigenous bodies with overlapping scope and geographies, multiple systems of Indigenous land recognition and the slow process of native title settlements.

Mr Mundine acknowledged the resources sector leadership in engaging Indigenous communities and providing jobs and economic opportunities for Indigenous Australians.

Cameco'sBrian Reilly was also endorsed for another term as CME President.

Mr Reilly welcomed the contract extension of CME Chief Executive Reg Howard-Smith.

"Reg has provided tremendous leadership to CME and I know our membership is very supportive of him continuing to serve as Chief Executive," said Mr Reilly.

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