Power poles could be part of as­set sale

Pilbara News - - Pilbara News - Tom Zaun­mayr

Pil­bara power poles and wires owned by Hori­zon Power are likely to be added to the State Gov­ern­ment’s as­set sales list should it win the next State elec­tion.

Trea­surer Mike Na­han es­ti­mated the sale could fetch up to $800 mil­lion to put to­wards re­pay­ing $11 bil­lion of the State’s debt.

Dr Na­han said the sale of Hori­zon Power and Western Power would go ahead only if the Gov­ern­ment won a man­date from vot­ers at the elec­tion next March and he stressed they would also de­pend on en­sur­ing con­sumers were left no worse off.

While not di­rectly sup­port­ing or op­pos­ing the po­ten­tial sale, Pil­bara Re­gional Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Tony Fri­day said he sup­ported the op­er­a­tion of free and open mar­kets.

Healthy com­pe­ti­tion usu­ally yielded ben­e­fits for con­sumers,” he said.

Elec­tri­cal Trades Union WA branch sec­re­tary Les McLaugh­lan said pri­vati­sa­tion would come at great cost to the com­mu­nity.

“With pri­vati­sa­tion, the com­mu­nity al­ways pays,” he said.

“The num­ber one pri­or­ity of a pri­vate com­pany is to max­imise prof­its. This means higher prices, and cost-cut­ting in the form of fewer jobs and re­duced main­te­nance bud­gets.

“The end re­sult is a less safe and less re­li­able elec­tric­ity sup­ply, and higher prices for house­holds and busi­nesses.”

Un­der plans al­ready an­nounced, the Gov­ern­ment has pro­posed to sell Fre­man­tle port, the Utah Point bulk ex­port ter­mi­nal in Port Hed­land, bet­ting agency the TAB and parcels of State-owned land.

All up, Dr Na­han claimed the as­set sales were con­ser­va­tively worth $16 bil­lion.

Dr Na­han said the pro­ceeds would be used to re­pay $11 bil­lion, or about a third of the State’s cur­rent debt.

Plans for pri­vatis­ing State as­sets are un­der sig­nif­i­cant pres­sure in the face of op­po­si­tion by the Na­tion­als and WA La­bor.

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