WA behind local content policies

Despite previously voicing concerns about creating local content tariff regulations for the mining industry, the Western Australian Government has now thrown its support behind the move.

WA commerce minister Simon O’Brien says he welcomes the Prime Minister’s ‘local contents’ initiatives announced at last week’s Future Jobs Forum.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said mining companies will lose lucrative tariff concessions unless they can prove local suppliers have been given every chance to compete with foreign imports.

The tougher mining regulations will force companies with projects worth more than $2 billion to publish a list of their requirements on a public website.

Canberra will then monitor the list and keep tabs on resource companies, regularly checking to see what efforts they are making to use local suppliers.

If companies fail to follow the rules they will lose the 5 per cent tariff concession on their imported goods.

According to O’Brien, these “initiatives announced were a carbon copy of suggestions made by premier Colin Barnett in a letter to the Prime Minister on 22 March, 2011”.

In the same the letter, Barnett suggested the Australian Industry Participation Plan (IPP) should be changed to increase local content by making plans for additional transparency and accountability.

“Importantly the letter also called for the Prime Minster to change the tariff regulations that worked against the interests of local companies,” O’Brien said.

“The Prime Minister called for companies running major projects to justify why a local company has not been successful in their bid for work. 
“In major onshore projects run by companies like Rio Tinto, we are getting 80-90 per cent local content,” he added.

During the Future Jobs Forum, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union made a major push for the legislation of local content levels and publically ‘naming and shaming’ Australian miners who did not use Australian goods.