Resources and Northern Australia Minister Madeleine King has told an audience in Perth that the world’s path to net zero begins in WA, while praising the decisions of former Liberal premiers.

Ms King, the Labor member for Brand in Perth’s south and a cabinet minister since 2022, used an address this morning to highlight the work done by her government in support of critical minerals and LNG in WA.

Highlighting the nation’s Future Gas and Critical Minerals strategies, along with an expansions of the Critical Minerals and Northern Australian Infrastructure facilities, Ms King said the government was pushing to secure the state’s place leading the transition.

Ms King said those WA sectors, along with iron ore, would be critical to delivering the world’s net zero ambitions.

In doing so, she highlighted the decisions of past Liberal premiers in paving the way for Perth’s growth.

“The development of Western Australia, and therefore the nation, turned a corner when then Liberal Premier Sir David Brand and his deputy Sir Charles Court realised the immense opportunities of exporting WA’s iron ore to Asia,” she said.

“With determined leadership and great effort, they convinced Prime Minister Robert Menzies to lift the ban on exporting iron ore to Japan. 

“The subsequent opening of Western Australia’s iron ore trade would transform the nation.”

Mr Brand, after whom Ms King’s electorate is named, served the state as premier between 1959 and 1971.

Mr Court occupied the top job from 1974 to 1982.

Ms King said the opening of those trade doors paved the way for the development of the LNG industry, which was underpinned by Japanese investment and is now being used regionally to supplement a shift to renewables as a firming fuel.

“Brand and Court recognised that to create a new industry, government support was critical to get projects off the ground,” she said.

Ms King pointed to measures laid out in the federal budget, which assigned incentives in the order of billions to foster the development of critical minerals downstreaming and hydrogen industries locally.

She also highlighted a commitment to shared and common user facilities for downstream processing in Australia and an investment in expanding the knowledge base available to industry through Geoscience Australia.

The same credit given to Mr Court and Mr Brand was not paid to the modern-day opposition, with Ms King accusing the federal Liberal Party of abandoning its core values.

“They have labelled these measures welfare for billionaires,” she said.

“Would Peter Dutton and Shadow Treasurer Angus Taylor seriously argue that those royalty and stamp duty concessions Brand and Court gave to iron ore companies back in the 1960s were welfare?”

Ms King’s home electorate of Brand encompasses Kwinana, home to an alumina refinery being closed by Alcoa and a refinery which forms part of BHP’s Nickel West division.

The minister reiterated her earlier commentary around Nickel West, which is currently under review as a result of cost pressures imposed by an influx of nickel supply from Indonesia.

Ms King has been critical in recent weeks of BHP for prioritising shareholder returns over upgrades at its nickel facilities.