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Report justifies Kimberley development concerns

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 8 Sep 2011

A report released by The Australia Institute report has shown that community concerns about the social and economic impact around the James Price Point development are justified, the Australian Greens said today.

Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on the Kimberley said today that The Australia Institute’s report -  Mining the truth: The rhetoric and reality of the commodities boom highlights why West Australians are right to wonder about the expansion of the sector into areas such as the Kimberley.

“Much is being promised for the Kimberley and for Western Australia as part of the James Price Point proposal, but as this report shows, the benefits of the boom are not what they appear,” Senator Siewert said.

“Despite the industry’s spin, I very much doubt that the industrial cloud hanging over the Kimberley will deliver as much for the region as it will for shareholders.

“The report shows that Kimberley residents could expect a variety of questionable social and economic effects in their community.

“There may be less employment or job security for workers in fields such tourism and education, and wages in these sectors will not increase to match the increased cost of living.

“It is also likely that local businesses in other sectors would experience increases to the cost of skilled labour and services such as construction.

“A common resource sector claim is that they create local flow-on employment. In reality, the same can be said for any sector whose workers spend their income in the local community.

“A fly-in, fly-out or frequently transitioning workforce will not necessarily be spending this income in the communities closest to the development.

“Contrary to public perception, the resource sector employs fewer workers than many other industries.

“Sectors such as accommodation and food services, agriculture, fisheries, marine and recreation would employ more people and offer a more sustainable future for the Kimberley.

“A smart and sustainable future for the Kimberley would also lead to long term economic benefit and security for people throughout the region,” Senator Siewert concluded.


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