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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 525 asked in the Legislative Council on 6 September 2017 by Hon Jacqui Boydell

Parliament: 40 Session: 1
Answered on

ASSET SALES — UTAH POINT
      525. Hon JACQUI BOYDELL to the minister representing the Treasurer:
In opposition, the Labor Party opposed the sale of the Utah Point port facility.
(1) Will the government proceed with the sale of Utah Point port?
(2) If no to (1), how does the government intend to prevent the sale?
(3) If yes to (1), what is the time line for the sale and when will the sale be finalised?
Hon STEPHEN DAWSON replied:
I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question.
      (1)–(3) Members may recall that back in March 2016, Hon Jacqui Boydell moved to refer the Pilbara Port Assets (Disposal) Bill to the Standing Committee on Legislation. This referral and the resulting delay all but scuttled the previous Liberal–National government's plans to sell the Utah Point facility. Members will also recall that in one of the final actions of the thirty‑ninth Parliament, the Pilbara Port Assets (Disposal) Bill was passed into law, enabling the government to undertake a divestment process for the Utah Point facility under certain terms and conditions, should it decide to do so. Under the policy of the previous government, the Department of Treasury conducted analysis on the potential sale of the facility via long‑term lease, but no formal market process was conducted or has subsequently commenced. The previous government put the sale of Utah Point on hold ahead of the March 2017 state election. Since the election, the McGowan government has yet to make a decision on whether the process should continue or proceed in another form at another time. Importantly, the McGowan government is aware that the ongoing sustainability of the current users of the facility is a critical determinant for if, how and when any divestment may occur. In this regard, the government approved an extension of discounts on port user charges for iron ore export at Utah Point for a period of six months from 1 July 2017. This provides an indication of the McGowan government's focus and priority on supporting junior miners.