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Howard Government must do more in the resources sector to protect the national interest.



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MEDIA RELEASE

AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

Martin Ferguson MP Member for Batman

Shadow Minister for Primary Industries, Resources and Tourism

9 March 2005

HOWARD GOVERNMENT MUST DO MORE IN THE RESOURCES SECTOR TO PROTECT THE NATIONAL INTEREST

The level of corporate interest in Australian resources company, Western Mining, is indicative of both the national and global importance of the whole Australian resources sector.

The level of government interest should be just as high.

When the Treasurer or other Ministers consider foreign investment or other applications, it is time for them to do more to protect Australia’s long term national interest.

The Labor Party always welcomes investment in the resources sector but it wants to see greater emphasis on the principle of mutual obligation.

This government has an obligation to ensure the owners of Australia’s resources - the Australian community - get a fair return for those resources.

With increasing globalisation and concentration of corporate control over the world’s resources and resource markets, this means ensuring there is a commitment by investors to exploration in this country for the next generation of resource developments.

It means ensuring a commitment to investment in research and development to get the most out of our resources.

It means ensuring a commitment to investment in new and expanded resource development in Australia and a commitment to cooperative infrastructure planning, development and funding.

It means a commitment to building the trade and professional skills of Australians for our future prosperity and a commitment to increasing the level of workforce participation of Australian women and Indigenous Australians.

This is a sector we always want to keep healthy, yet the Howard government is ignoring critical issues that are holding back its growth and well being.

It’s time the Howard government considered these issues in determining the national interest question.

The sector contributes 4.6% to Australia’s GDP and more than 25% of Australia’s total exports, reflecting just how important resources are to our economic and export performance.

ENDS

Contact: Tracey Winters 0407 099 104