Australia: Calls for WA Gov’t to help China mining investigation on dodgy preferential contracts

The Western Australian Opposition has called on the Government to comply with a Commonwealth investigation into the awarding of major resource contracts to Chinese companies.

In a letter to WA Premier Colin Barnett, Prime Minister Julia Gillard says Australian industry should have “unhindered access” to opportunities stemming from major resource projects.

In the letter, she singles out the Oakajee Port and Rail project in the state’s Midwest region, saying that the Commonwealth has committed more than $330 million to the development.

 

Ms Gillard is calling for the WA Government to help investigate allegations that Chinese companies are being given preference in the supply of equipment and services.

However, Labor spokesman Peter Tinley doubts the WA Government will cooperate.

“Colin Barnett has already said that he is no friend of the Federal Government,” he said.

Deputy Premier Kim Hames is expected to comment on the issue later today.

Meanwhile, WA resource company Gindalbie Metals has defended its purchase of 4,000 tonnes of steel from Chinese company Ansteel for its Karara iron ore project in the Midwest.

Gindalbie’s Michael Weir says the Chinese bid was three times cheaper than those received from Australian companies.

But Mr Weir says local suppliers are getting more than 90 per cent of the work at the Karara project.

“We are firmly committed to local content and our numbers and our record state that quite clearly,” he said.

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