The Premier of Western Australia, Colin Barnett, told critics of China’s investment in his state to "get over it" as Chinese bureaucrats declared to a high-powered business forum that the State was a key investment target.
Colin Barnett used a WA investment seminar in Beijing to ramp up his pro-China rhetoric to its strongest level yet, saying it was a time for Australians to think big and realise the Asian powerhouse was the key to the nation’s development over the next 50 to 100 years.
"People should recognise how far China has come in the past 30 years and how much further it will go in the next 30 years," Colin Barnett said. "Deal with the reality of today and don’t be judgmental about that. In a sense, get over it."
The Premier’s comments followed those of Rio Tinto’s spurned suitor, Chinalco, that it intended to push ahead with plans to invest in WA.
Xiong Weiping, the chairman of China’s biggest miner, which he stressed remained Rio’s biggest single shareholder, said Australia was "an ideal investment location".
Xiong Weiping was followed by a procession of Chinese speakers, including the head of the all-powerful National Development and Reform Commission’s overseas banking arm, who all said WA was a key investment target.
The West Australian reported that David Dukes, Australia’s Beijing embassy commercial counsellor, said China ranked as only the nation’s 15th biggest overseas investor. For the past 18 months, China-sourced investment proposals had been approved at the rate of over one per week.
(All of this needs to be viewed bearing in mind that Western Australia is extremely jealous and niggled at the rest of Australia. It provides most of the exports, contains a lot of the wealth, is bigger than everyone else and, yet, is treated like a poor relation. A lot of its political moves are made with a view to getting up the nose of the national government. Indeed, secession from the rest of Australia has been mooted by the outer fringes. Perth is the most isolated city on earth and feels the tyranny of distance more than most.)