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News News Local resources firms 'need helping hand'

The West Australian Government has been criticised for not doing enough to ensure local companies win business on big resources projects.

The acting secretary of Unions WA, Simone McGurk, says the Government's local content policy contains no guarantees or set percentages for Australian companies.

Ms McGurk says it needs to change.

"That all parties can be assured that locals get a seat at the table and an opportunity to bid," she said.

"Often it's not the case that there's any transparency about the bidding process at all."

The Opposition has called for an office to be set up to help local companies tender for the Gorgon gas development.

The $50 billion development is the biggest resources project in Australian history.

Labor's state development spokesman Mark McGowan says a dedicated office would help them win business.

"West Australian businesses can do the work, what they need is help with the paperwork," he said.

"They don't need a handout, they need a hand up to get the jobs and business associated with this project."

But the Treasurer, Troy Buswell, has defended the way the Government is assisting local businesses to take part in big resource projects.

Mr Buswell says an office is not necessary.

"We have people already working in relation to Gorgon to make sure that WA business has every opportunity to leverage off of the economic potential of these projects," he said.

"What the Opposition is proposing is to simply just to slather another layer of bureaucracy into the process."

'Fully aware'

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry says it has a dedicated organisation set up to assist local companies win business for big resource projects.

The chamber's chief executive, James Pearson, says they also have somebody inside the Gorgon project.

"We are making sure local businesses do have the opportunity to tender, that the developers and investors are fully aware of what local companies can do, and we've got mechanisms to help local firms increase their capacity to win business," he said.


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