Labor loses blue

PHIL MERCER of Amherst Street, White Gum Valley is a construction worker, former small business owner and “very casual” Liberal party member who says Labor has betrayed workers by backing offshore processing at Browse Basin. In this week’s Thinking Allowed He urges Fremantle voters to send a message on September 7.

Do not ever believe Labor is in it for the worker.

There is no more stark example of Labor’s contempt for the blue collar workers of WA than the resources and energy minister and, laughably, small business, continuing to push for the offshore processing of Browse Basin gas.

The irony seems to be completely lost on a media that chastises Colin Barnett for his dogged determination to deliver a huge windfall in royalties, jobs and Aboriginal benefits to the state, whilst ex Woodside Labor man Gary Gray continues to push for federal royalties only and an exclusively overseas-built floating plant. This from a man who is meant to be on our side.


Whilst unions continue to pontificate about illegal “dumping”, “local content” and other completely untestable, vague and wishy-washy distractions what has the Gary, Melissa and Steve team achieved for WA this week? They have changed the lease agreements on all five of the federal Browse gas reserves, effectively ending any chance of an onshore plant.

Bear in mind WA receives just 4.9 per cent of the national GST revenue, despite having 11 per cent of the population. Contemplate also we get 21 per cent of our state revenue from mining royalties, a lot of which would have been converted to federal revenue had the Labor government been even slightly competent in implementing the mining tax.

But federal/state carve-ups are one thing; delivering thousands of high-paid, blue-collar energy jobs are another and by far the most important factor in improving people’s lives. Labor would have you believe it is simply too expensive to bring the gas onshore. Codswallop!

It beggars belief a pioneering deepwater facility built by the Koreans to be operated in a cyclone area can be cheaper than pipes and steel erected onshore. What has really happened is five years of Labor intervention and strangling red tape have delivered this absurd outcome. Remember also that had our blue-collar crusader Colin Barnett not put up such a fight, Gary Gray would have got his way and delivered for Woodside long ago.

Melissa Parke will claim the offshore jobs are in fact Australian jobs, but it’s only the tight and highly paid clique of the Maritime Workers’ Union that will get those positions and all the years of construction work will be done in Asia. Australia has never built a floating gas facility of this scale so even the design engineering will be offshored, or ex-pats flown in.

The Greens will argue offshore is better for the indigenous locals of Price Point. Unlike the Greens I would not pretend to place myself in their shoes, but the benefits, royalties and jobs that were to flow to the traditional landholders of this project were unprecedented and a model of what they always should have been. Again, all to have been delivered by WA’s Liberal government and taken away by Labor’s federal WA ministers.

Energy jobs

Just take a step back and imagine if every project in the past 30 years had been designed to deliver so much to traditional owners, the whole equation of Aboriginal prosperity, welfare and equality would be far, far advanced. Its not too late to stop Gary Gray, Melissa Parke and the other Labor candidates exporting all these highly sought-after energy jobs and depriving the Goolarabooloo Jabirr Jabirr of their prosperity.

Luckily WA’s Liberals have stuck their foot in the door.

Fremantle has never been a Liberal seat in its current configuration: The workers of Fremantle have a chance to make history at this federal election.

I’m not so naïve to think Fremantle will ever be a Liberal stronghold but we have never had a group working so actively against blue-collar workers before. I ask the workers of Fremantle to see through the pandering rhetoric of Labor’s fallacy that it is on your side.

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