Incentive package to lure silica smelter investors

31-08-2010

The Tasmanian Labor Government has promised an incentive package for potential investors in a new silica smelter in that state.

For several years the Government has been trying to attract investment for a $500 million silica project.

The Premier, Lara Giddings, says Labor will provide $10 million for infrastructure, training and payroll tax relief, as well as a loan of up to $20 million to an investor, according to an ABC news report.

Ms Giddings says a silica smelter in industrial areas like Bell Bay or Railton makes sense.

"The Australian dollar is starting to drop which makes this more attractive to investors," she told the ABC.

"It's important that we have an attraction investment package out in the market to encourage those who in invest in these areas to look at Tasmania."

The Minerals Council has welcomed the incentive package, but says it will not be easy finding investors.

Spokesman Wayne Bould, who is also the managing director of Grange Resources, says the sweetener may help in what has been a difficult investment environment.

"Investors are difficult, in my view the investor looks more for surety," he said.

"Any gift is effectively valuable, however what they really look for is an understanding that they're likely to get their return in the time frame they believe."

The Liberals have ridiculed the move, saying it is an old policy.

"This was first announced four years. Where's Labor been in the last four years?"

"Where they've been is welded to the hip with the Tasmanian Greens and this investment's gone nowhere," Mr Rockliff said.

Greens leader Nick McKim says the proposal is another example of Labor's corporate welfare.

"Just like the pulp mill they've not no proponent and no idea," he said.

"We have this corporate welfare mentality where they are taking, on the one hand, taxes from Tasmanian businesses and then giving them out in corporate welfare to a company they can't even name and probably doesn't exist."

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