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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 27 asked in the Legislative Council on 13 February 2019 by Hon Jacqui Boydell

Minister responding: Hon W.J. Johnston
Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on 13 February 2019

BHP — IRON ORE ROYALTY PAYMENTS

27. Hon JACQUI BOYDELL to the minister representing the Minister for Mines and Petroleum:

I refer to the article I mentioned yesterday by Gareth Parker cited in question without notice 6.

(1) Is BHP disputing the government's position that it should pay back the deduction it has claimed over the years; and, if so, on what grounds?

(2) Has the government sought legal advice on this issue other than that of the state Solicitor-General; and, if so, from whom?

(3) Will the minister table all correspondence between BHP and the Minister for Mines and Petroleum's office on this issue?

(4) How often are BHP's royalty returns audited?

(5) Why have previous audits of BHP not uncovered the alleged discrepancies?

(6) What meetings has the minister's office had with BHP over this matter, including dates and those who were present at the meeting?

(7) Does BHP's legacy state agreement define ''legitimate deductions'' and what are those deductions?

The PRESIDENT: I will say before the Minister for Regional Development responds that that is a very lengthy question and probably falls outside of standing order 105. The member might want to have a look at that.

Hon ALANNAH MacTIERNAN replied:

I thank the member for the question. The following information has been provided by the Minister for Mines and Petroleum.

(1) Royalty assessment matters that arise are dealt with in confidence between the state government and the company.

(2) I am not in a position to confirm or deny whether the government has sought legal advice on this issue. Any such disclosure could possibly provide BHP with a forensic advantage in relation to the dispute between BHP and the state. Any legal advice obtained by the government on this matter, whether from the State Solicitor's Office or otherwise, would be subject to legal professional privilege.

(3) No.

(4) They are audited at least annually.

(5) At all times the state's position has been that the royalties are to be calculated in accordance with the state agreements.

(6) Royalty assessment matters that arise are dealt with in confidence between the state and the company.

(7) Legitimate deductions are set out in each state agreement and are therefore on the public record.