Media Release

Dark day as state laws trashed in Roxby riches rush

29/11/2011 3:00 pm

The Parliamentary debate over the Roxby expansion Indenture Bill has confirmed that the State Government has delivered a bad deal for South Australia, says Greens Parliamentary Leader Mark Parnell.
“This is a dark day for our State’s democracy. The Government has locked in for the next 70 years the right of the world’s richest resource company to over-ride all relevant State laws,” said Mr Parnell.
“The hours of debate in Parliament has shown that in the rush to get this deal signed before ex-Premier Rann departed, the State Government has given too much away for too little in return.
“The environmental costs are going to be much higher, and the economic return will be much lower than the SA public rightly expect.
“Parliament has exposed the yawning gap between the Government’s hyperbolic spin over the Roxby riches and the dark reality of this terrible deal.
“Future generations are going to be disgusted with us for giving their resources away for a pittance and leaving them to deal with the enormous toxic legacy of managing the world’s largest radioactive waste dump,” he said.
The Greens put forward a package of amendments that would have positively transformed the Indenture contract.
The controversial Bill has now passed both houses of State Parliament, with only the Greens voting against it.
What the debate exposed:
• The local jobs, manufacturing and local procurement Plan will contain ‘aspirational’ targets only. Not one extra job is guaranteed.
• The ‘net’ economic return to state coffers in years 10-20 of the project could be as low as $10 million / year – and that’s even before millions are given back to BHPB through Federal subsidies like the diesel fuel rebate.
• No explanation for locking in royalty rates at a low rate for 45 years - apart from that is what BHP wanted.
• The Government did not do any comparative economic analysis with similar projects interstate and overseas to see if we were getting a good economic deal.
• There is nothing the Government can do to make BHPB expand their domestic processing up to an additional 200,000 tonnes of ore (as has been promised by the Premier and others).  In fact, there is nothing to stop BHP exporting all ore from Roxby Downs to China (including the ore that is currently processed here).
• Govt has relied entirely on BHPB’s figures for the cost of processing in SA rather than exporting South Australian copper ore to China.
• BHPB can continue to extract fossil water from the Great Artesian Basin until 2082, with costs capped for the next 30 years.
• Third parties won’t have any right to access the railways, roads, ports and airports being constructed for the expansion.
• No cumulative impacts of this expansion (beyond the artificial EIS timeframe of 40 years) have been considered.
• The Government doesn’t know what impact the ODX will have on the State’s greenhouse pollution reduction targets.
• The toxic tailings waste dams have been deliberately designed to leak.
• The final operating conditions to protect the marine environment at Point Lowly will not be known for years and will be negotiated in secret.

Roxby Expansion campaign

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