Welcome to the June 2019 newsletter. This edition focuses on our delegation to the Hannover Messe industrial and trade fair, meetings with the European Commission, the European Battery Alliance, secondary processing of new energy materials and bikes.
Critical Raw Materials – BASF Event
InfraNomics is co-hosting an cocktail reception on 25th June 2019 that is focused on the relationship between Western Australia and the European Union and the development of partnership opportunities for critical raw materials.
Paul Houston, Global Business Development Manager at BASF, will present on BASF’s activities in this area. There will also be local industry presentations and an overview of the April 2019 WA delegation to the European Commission to present on battery mineral strategy and supply.
We would love to see you there.
The Great 2.8% Debate
The feedback on our The Great 2.8% Debate article was as interesting as it was unexpected. We received a lot of feedback from around Australia, including government departments and diverse stakeholders who all who appreciated the new perspective we brought to this issue. It was fulfilling to find the information is being informally and widely disseminated.
In the recent community engagement sessions, the Westport taskforce has advised that the final growth rate is being revised and will sit somewhere between 3% and 4%. We are not aware of what Westport’s motivation for changing the forecast is, nor do we know whether this is the new base case or worst case. However, it is positive that the growth forecast is moving in the right direction. (For reference, increasing the growth rate from 2.8% to 3.5% means a new port is need in CY2027, two and a half years earlier than previously forecast by Westport.) As Westport have stated, even small changes in the forecast percentage have a significant impact.
Market Led Proposals
We congratulate the State government on the market-led proposal (MLP) legislation. This legislation is an important part of building an environment that fosters innovation. Prior to the MLP, there was no incentive for industry to originate new infrastructure ideas. Any new idea presented to Government was not protected from appropriation by others and the originator of the idea risked receiving neither recognition nor compensation for their hard work and intellectual property.
When innovation is stifled, the real losers are West Australians. Now that there is a process for formally registering ideas and concepts it is harder for intellectual bowerbirds to acquire and use the ideas and innovation of others without at least recognising the source. The MLP legislation will almost certainly result in an increase in new projects using the latest technologies and innovation while reducing demands on government funding.
Anketell Road and Rowley Road were identified over a decade ago as highly strategic road links between the Kewdale freight and logistics hub and the Kwinana Industrial Area and planned Outer Harbour development. Fast forward to 2019 and we are hearing from several organisations who are concerned that the strategic value of the heavy load road access on Rowley Road in Cockburn has been compromised in recent years by residential developments.
It is worth questioning how this rezoning of strategic land could occur, as the potential financial impact is immense. The cost to the State of using this land for residential rather than industrial and freight usage could easily amount to hundreds of millions of dollars. There are discussions of a full enquiry into this Rowley Road rezoning and repurposing and we look forward to hearing more.
On a side note, one of the interesting stories from Europe related to high purity oyster shells that apparently come from China. When we met representatives from the Swiss watch industry (they need batteries and exotic materials) they mentioned they need an ongoing supply of high quality white oyster shells. In the past these shells came from China, which sourced them from Western Australia (similar theme to lithium). So, selling the shells directly to Switzerland not only cuts out the middle man, it also improves quality, product development and direct communication between West Australian producers and retailers.
Again, this is about being smarter with the resources WA companies have. Without doubt, the same thing happens in other industries, lithium just being one. Better connections with end customers around the world are needed. More on this later in the newsletter.