If either federal political party wants to win the support of the WA miners, they are going to have to put in the hard yards.

WA miners are feeling a little left out in the cold, sharing mines minister Bill Johnston’s view that the current federal Liberal government has ignored the sector.

So it looks as if federal Labor has the upper hand at the moment.

According to The Australian’s Newspoll, if an election was held today, Labor would win with a 3.5 per cent swing in its favour.

Association of Mining and Exploration Companies chief Warren Pearce told Stockhead there seemed to be a “huge focus” from the federal government on the eastern states.

“Western Australia seems not to get as much focus because of a strong mining industry,” he noted.

“Indeed, there’s been supportive national governments on both sides towards the development of the offshore oil and gas industry, pursuing the increase in the iron ore industry and so forth, but we haven’t really had a lot of focus on some of those things.

“It’s always felt a bit like the industry has taken care of itself and there’s not such a focus on that from an eastern states perspective.”

AMEC is the voice of Australia’s exploration and mining industry, representing about 250 companies around the country.

The organisation wants whichever party wins government at the May election to commit to implementing the recommendations made in the Resources 2030 Taskforce Report released in late August last year.

Mr Pearce said AMEC is “particularly passionate” about the UNCOVER Initiative and the Exploring for the Future program.

The UNCOVER Initiative is a collaboration between industry, government and academics to come up with new technologies to make exploring beneath cover easier and less expensive.

The goal of the four-year Exploring for the Future program led by government-backed Geoscience Australia is to acquire new data on underexplored areas in Northern Australia and South Australia.

“Whichever party ends up in government post the federal election we want to see them committed to putting in place the funding that’s needed to pull those programs forward, making sure there’s coordination at a federal and state level for those programs to continue and a real genuine effort behind the need to get more greenfield exploration and to improve our discovery rates,” Mr Pearce said.

AMEC welcomed federal Labor’s announcement last week that it would establish a new Australian Future Mines Centre in Perth.

The centre will undertake scientific research projects and be funded through a $46m Australian Research Council grant with additional input from the Australian Academy of Sciences and the resources sector.

If Labor wins, it promises to sink $23m into the centre.

“I think that gives a clear focus to them that they’re trying to put some more strategic thinking into how the existing dollars into geoscience are being spent and how they might be able to magnify that effort,” Mr Pearce said.

“To see it based in a resource state like Perth makes sense and it gives an indication that Canberra is thinking about Western Australia — that is sometimes overlooked in a lot of these conversations.

“They’re happy to see the development taking place, happy to hear economic stories and to benefit from it through revenue streams, but you rarely see an actual physical presence in the West and so I think that’s a really positive announcement.”

Other political ructions

Besides the lashings of Mr Johnston, Prime Minister Scott Morrison is also copping it from The Greens.

The minority party has accused Mr Morrison of leaving Australia “stalled on the sidelines of the electric vehicle revolution”.

“The Morrison government’s delay to the electric vehicle strategy means Australia isn’t even in the slow lane when it comes to electric vehicles, we’re stalled on the sidelines,” said senator Janet Rice, Greens transport and infrastructure spokesperson.

“The Labor party isn’t much better, watering down the recommendations in the Senate inquiry report.

“The major parties have no plan, no policies and no incentives to drive electric vehicle uptake.”

The Greens’ plan is to push for all new cars to be electric by 2030, put in place strong vehicle emissions standards, cut import tariffs and other taxes such as GST, stamp duty and registration, and roll out fast charging infrastructure.