Power poles could be part of asset sale
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.