Tomorrow, KAP Member for Mount Isa Robbie Katter will bring together major rail and energy users to discuss the issues holding back investment in the North West Minerals Province.
The forum comes days after the Government announced a number of underwhelming measures to address serious energy and transport issues.
“I’ve decided to hold this forum to get the major users working together to find solutions to the energy and transport problems,” Robbie said.
“The issues have been known for many years however successive governments have done very little to address them. It’s getting to the point where future development is becoming more and more difficult.”
Incitec, Glencore, MMG, Mitez and Cudeco are among the companies who will be part of the forum. “It’s really positive that these companies have agreed to come together to talk about solutions. I’m hopeful that we will get some solid policy ideas to benefit the North West Minerals Province from working together.”
Robbie says access to competitively priced gas and electricity and the cost of rail transport are the major issues holding back investment.
“I’ve had multiple users, both large and small, spell out the issues they’re having with rising input costs and lack of access to key infrastructure. The problem has gotten worse over the past five years and it’s not uncommon for energy and transport costs to have doubled or even tripled in that time. Gas prices have gotten particularly bad with some users reporting prices going from around $6/GJ to around $20/GJ.”
The Province has been a significant generator of economic activity for the state over the years and there is still much potential that can be unlocked, Robbie said.
“The North West is a huge contributor to economic activity right across the state. Our mining and processing activity contributes $1.7 billion a year to the economy and employs almost 3,000 people directly. This is under threat if we don’t address failure in the energy and transport markets.”
Robbie said the risks to any future development and economic expansion need to be addressed but can be overcome.
“Addressing these issues will take some serious commitment from the government and I’m confident that if key stakeholders put their heads together in a coordinated manner we can drive some solutions.”
Robbie hopes Wednesday’s forum will be the beginning of an ongoing constructive policy working group.