Nov 18, 2009

Major Project Facilitation status for Waratah Coal

Major Project Facilitation status for Waratah Coal

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

November 18 2009

I have granted Major Project Facilitation (MPF) status to Waratah Coal’s proposed Northern Export Facility Infrastructure Project, underscoring the Government’s efforts to support major new private investment during the global recession.

The proposed $7.5 billion project would develop a new coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin as well as associated common user rail and port facilities.

If it proceeds, this project would deliver considerable benefits to the national economy, including thousands of construction and ongoing jobs. It would also generate annual export earnings of approximately $3 billion.

The mine would be developed in stages, with the first delivery to international customers expected in 2013.

The MPF program is administered by my Department, with the purpose of facilitating and supporting private sector investment proposals through the approval processes of Federal and state/territory authorities. It also assists with the early identification of impediments to greater private sector investment.


The Major Project Facilitation program is administered by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government.

Under the program, the Department provides the project with a facilitation service to achieve quick and timely assistance from the Australian Government. The service ensures:

  • Access to information on government approval processes;
  • All relevant government processes are coordinated, including those of state and territory governments, so that as far as possible they occur simultaneously and without duplication;
  • Government agencies respond promptly to issues raised by the project proponent during the approval process; and
  • Assistance in identifying and accessing government programs is provided.

MPF status does not imply any Government guarantee for the commercial success or otherwise of the project, nor does it absolve the project from meeting less than the full statutory and other requisite criteria of relevant approval processes.

Proponents may apply to the Minister for MPF status if their proposed project meets the following three criteria:

1. The project is of strategic significance to Australia:

  • The project will significantly boost Australian industry innovation.

a) Increasing research and development (R&D) and commercialisation capability; and/or

b) A new application of skills and knowledge; and/or

c) Technology transfer; and/or

d) Cluster development.

  • Or, the project will have significant net economic benefit for regional Australia, taking account of a region’s investment needs.
  • Or, the project’s estimated investment exceeds A$50 million or makes a significant contribution to economic growth, employment and/or infrastructure.

2. It requires Australian Government approval(s) in order to proceed and/or significant Australian Government involvement through, for example, federal programs.

3. It has sufficient financial resources to complete the Australian Government approval(s) process and has demonstrated commercial viability.

Further details on the program are available from the Major Project Facilitation Unit within the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government: GPO Box 594, CANBERRA, 2601 or telephone +61 2 6274 7251.