The McGowan Government must immediately rule out axing the Exploration Incentive Scheme or further risk damaging confidence in Western Australia’s mining sector.
Less than a week since The Nationals killed off Labor’s gold royalty cash grab, Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston has sparked fresh waves of uncertainty in the industry by warning the EIS could be cut to fund blowouts in Labor’s election promises.
“Within six months of Labor’s pre-election spending forecasts, the cost of the first stages of Metronet have already blown out by a combined $200 million,” Nationals Leader Mia Davies said.
“Instead of destroying a scheme which creates jobs and investment in regional Western Australia, Labor must reassess their extravagant Perth election promises.”
Introduced by The Nationals while in government, the EIS received $130 million of funding from 2009-2016 and consists of a number of programs focused on the regions, including the highly successful Co-funded Exploration Drilling Program.
“The EIS is a proven driver of investment in the mining sector,” Ms Davies said.
“Since its inception the scheme has contributed to at least 25 new discoveries in Western Australia.
“For every $1 million invested, the EIS generates $10.3 million in exploration and benefits for the State.”
Nationals Deputy Leader and spokesperson for mining and petroleum Jacqui Boydell said the McGowan Government was anti-mining, anti-regional WA and anti-jobs.
“Exploration activity stimulated by the scheme provides opportunities for direct and indirect jobs and prospects for business development in regional WA,” Ms Boydell said.
“When The Nationals sat around the Cabinet table Royalties for Regions was utilised to invest in a sustainable economic future for regional WA.
“Under Labor, Royalties for Regions is used as Mark McGowan’s personal piggybank to fund Perth election promises.
“Any cut to the EIS is bad news for regional Western Australia, bad news for the mining sector and a sure-fire way to cost jobs.”
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