Resources Minister Martin Ferguson warned on Monday of a possible failure of the $9.5-billion Roy Hill iron ore project unless the venture gets foreign workers. He said the controversy generated by the enterprise migration agreement (EMA) places at risk not only Roy Hill but also $243 billion worth of future mining investments.
.Australia was named 7th best place in the world to do mining based on risk assessment made by 1,000 resource professionals.
"If Australia is going to take advantage of those 295 planned (resources) projects then we have to get the right policies in place to deliver on the current mining boom," Mr Ferguson warned in The Weekend Australian.
The EMA will allow mining magnate Gina Rinehart to bring in 1,700 foreign workers for the Roy Hill project. Union leader and even Labor backbenchers spoke against the EMA. Five unions run a full-page newspaper advertisement that was critical of Western Australia Special Minister of State Gary Gray, who defended the EMA since it will create many mining jobs in the country.
Federal Defence Minister Stephen Smith assured on Monday that a decision by the Labor Party to set up a sub-committee to monitor the progress of EMA will not likely delay new mining projects. He belied the warning by the Opposition that the sub-committee would cause unnecessary delay to the mining projects.
Mr Smith insisted that there will be attempts first to hire local workers and it would only be after efforts are exerted that foreign workers would be allowed in Australia. He acknowledged that the skills shortage is real, which would affect some large minerals resources or petroleum projects.
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