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Asia Pulse: HOWARD SAYS HE WON’T GIVE GORGON ROYALTIES TO W. AUSTRALIA

EXTRACT: Gorgon partners – Chevron Corp, ExxonMobil and Shell – announced in 2003 they would build the project at a cost of $11 billion. They have not officially updated the figure but current speculation now puts the cost between $15 and $20 billion.

THE ARTICLE

PERTH, Feb 21 Asia Pulse – Prime Minister John Howard has ruled out giving royalties from the proposed multi-billion Gorgon gas project to Western Australia.

Federal Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd said today that if Labor were elected he would give WA $A100 million ($US78.47 million) a year in royalties from the planned project off the state’s northern coast.

The gas project lies in commonwealth waters so all royalties would go to the federal government, rather than WA.

Mr Howard said the federal government would not share royalties with WA if the Chevron-operated joint venture project gets the final investment go ahead.

“I think Western Australia has been fairly treated,” Mr Howard told reporters after a cabinet meeting in Perth today.

“This is an asset of the Australian people and it shall be treated like all other assets of the Australian people and that is the basis of our policy and it will remain so.”

“I don’t think it is good national economic policy to be earmarking according to geographic location, particularly revenue streams to particular states based on geographic location.

“Because other states would argue that they should have some kind of particular deal and you will find resentment building in other parts of the country, which is undesirable.”

Mr Rudd said he would give 25 per cent of royalties to the state for a transport and water infrastructure fund.

Gorgon partners – Chevron Corp, ExxonMobil and Shell – announced in 2003 they would build the project at a cost of $11 billion.

They have not officially updated the figure but current speculation now puts the cost between $15 and $20 billion.

The companies are due to make a final investment decision this year.

(AAP)

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