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Barnett must take a clear stand on foreign ownership of Western Australian mines

Premier Colin Barnett is speaking with a forked tongue on Chinese investment in Western Australia, WA Greens said today.

Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam said Mr Barnett's expression of concern about the proposed sale of the Wesfarmers Premier Coal mine in Collie clashed with his enthusiastic support of Chinese exploitation of WA resources.

"Last week the Premier happily announced a deal that rolls out the red carpet for Chinese mining companies, and this week he expresses concern about the kind of activity he is encouraging."
Premier Coal is the major supplier for the state-owned Verve Energy, which delivers the majority of the South-West's electricity. The sale is subject to a review by the Federal Government's Foreign Investment Review Board.

Senator Ludlam said it was hypocritical of the premier to express concern that WA major coal fields had "moved into foreign hands" while also admitting the State would probably not oppose the latest sale.

"The Premier wants it both ways - a fire sale of WA's resources while pretending to be concerned about energy security. If the State Government was serious about long-term energy security, they would expand our renewable energy sector, rather than banking on a finite, polluting energy source that is now almost completely foreign-owned."

Greens WA MLC Robin Chapple said if the Premier was genuinely concerned by the proposed take-over he should review his deal to roll out the red carpet for Chinese mining companies.

"It is extraordinary that Mr Barnett would sign a deal to increase the ease with which Chinese companies exploit WA's resources, then play at being worried by the natural consequences of such a deal."

Media Contact: Giovanni Torre - 0417 174 302



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