Privatisation of Utah Point processing facility must be reversed: Greens

Wednesday, 15 February

The WA Greens have announced they will move to rescind the sale of Utah Point processing facility in Port Hedland after the March state election, to preserve local jobs in Port Hedland and long-term state revenue.

Longstanding MLC Robin Chapple today called on Labor to publically support this position, and on the National Party to reverse their support for privatisation in the next term of government.

“Utah Point is the only facility in Port Hedland that is not owned and utilised by either BHP, FMG or Roy Hill; it allows small miners without rail to compete and provides ongoing, indefinite revenue to the state of Western Australia,” Robin said.

“Brendon Grylls wants to introduce an illegal tax on BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto but he’s happy to let the sale of Utah Point slide, a move that directly contributes to the monopolisation of the iron ore industry in WA.

“Labor opposed the privatisation of Utah Point in Parliament and have been very vocal about stopping the sale of Western Power, so where are they on this issue now? They’re cherry-picking metro issues for votes and ignoring their regional constituents.

“The WA Greens have consistently stood up for the rights of small miners to access Port Hedland Harbour and we wholly opposed the privatisation legislation. Privatisation of Utah Point is akin to selling your house to pay off your mortgage.”

WA Greens Pilbara candidate Brent McKenna said the sale of Utah Point would ultimately mean a loss of local jobs in Port Hedland, a town that is already struggling to cope with the impacts of a largely FIFO workforce and normalisation of growth within the mining industry.

“If the Nationals priority is to protect regional jobs, as they claim, then they should have had the fortitude to stand withsmaller miners and oppose privatisation of public assets in Western Australia,” Brent said.

“When you look at the devastation caused by boom-bust cycles, exaggerated population growth projections and irresponsible infrastructure spending with no focus on what communities actually need, it’s hard to believe there’s anyone in politics really standing up for regional WA.

“The WA Greens want to see our regional communities rejuvenated, and will move to rescind the sale of Utah Point Processing Facility as soon as Parliament is returned following the March 11 poll.”

Media contact - Tim Oliver: 0431 9696 25

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