Greens: Western Power sale clearly being pursued

Tuesday, 26 April

A tender to advertise the state government’s planned electricity market review shows privatisation of Western Power is clearly being pursued, according to Greens MLC Robin Chapple.

“Treasurer Mike Nahan needs to own up and admit the government is entertaining the idea of selling Western Power so that robust debate on the issue can occur,” Mr Chapple said.

“Instead, Minister Nahan is denying a sale whilst simultaneously investigating the ramifications - backdoor politics from a government acutely aware of just how unpopular its asset sale program has become.

“Record state debt is pushing this government to make rash decisions; privatisation of Western Power would not only be fiscally short-sighted but ultimately an administrative and regulatory disaster for WA.

“Historically, no West Australian government has proven they have the expertise necessary to manage privatisation on this scale; if you’ll just think back to the sale of the Dampier to Bunbury gas pipeline.

“More recently, the Public Utilities Office has fumbled the privatisation of Horizon’s grid assets in the Pilbara demonstrating they do not have the capacity to manage a sale of this nature.

“There are already significant loop holes in the market that exist for Western Power and as a government entity, the ERA has relied heavily on their good behaviour not to exploit them.

“We are currently in a regulatory transition process and I would be wary of handing over to a commercial interest likely to want to take advantage of existing loop holes.

“That aside, rapidly increasing solar uptake means the value of this asset if sold outright is going to be significantly less than the $15 billion figure being thrown around.

“It is absolutely disingenuous to continue using that figure to justify the sale of Western Power to the people of Western Australia; these are desperate tactics from a cash-strapped government with delusions of grandeur.”

For comment please contact media liaison Tim Oliver on 08 9486 8255 or 0431 9696 25.

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