Howard Government Needs to Clarify Position on Barrow Island

Western Australia State Development Minister Clive Brown has called on the Howard Government to support the Gorgon project going ahead on Barrow Island.

The Minister said certainty was needed to enable the Gorgon Joint Venture partners (Gorgon JV) to market its gas with confidence.

"There are significant opportunities for the Gorgon JV to achieve export deals like last year's $25billion gas deal with China," Mr. Brown said.

"However, if the Gorgon JV is to secure such contracts and the jobs and opportunities they bring, the Howard Government needs to decide whether it supports the LNG project going ahead on Barrow Island or whether it backs Colin Barnett's plan to delay the project by shifting it to the Maitland Estate."

The Minister's comments came following Mr. Barnett's repeated assertions that a future Liberal State Government would seek to shift the $11billion LNG and domestic gas project if elected to Government in 2005.

Mr. Brown said Mr. Barnett's comments created uncertainty for the project.

"Western Australia has a window of opportunity to become the region's leading energy supplier," Mr. Brown said.

"To seize this opportunity, timing is critical, and Mr. Barnett's plan to move the Gorgon project to the mainland in 2005 is not only financially unviable, it would set the project back for years, potentially causing WA to miss the current window of opportunity.

"This would see WA lose billions in investment and deny Western Australians the thousands of jobs and opportunities this project would deliver.

"I call on the Howard Government to publicly back the State Government's Barrow Island plan, so that both Governments can get on with assisting the Gorgon JV to market their gas with certainty."