Privatisation means fewer jobs and apprenticeships
As the mining boom winds down, the state government should be doing everything it can do to create jobs and apprenticeships around the state.
The last thing it should be doing is proposing policy that would see jobs and apprenticeships go.
This is what they are doing with their plans to sell Western Power, Horizon Power and other energy utilities.
The number one priority of a private company is to make a profit. So, it would make sense that the private company that buys or leases our energy utilities from the state government would increase prices to maximise revenue. It would also make sense that they would look to cut jobs and apprenticeships in their efforts to minimise costs and maximise profits.
This is the last thing we need in WA, as people lose their jobs in the mining industry.
It is also the last thing we need in the energy sector, where maintenance plays such an important role in keeping our system in working order.
During Victoria's Black Saturday bushfires, poorly maintained privatised power lines caused five of the worst blazes. On that day, 173 people lost their lives.
In their efforts to make Western Power more attractive to a potential purchaser, Colin Barnett and Mike Nahan recently announced 215 redundancies at Western Power, with many of these workers to come from the maintenance division. While they might save some money now, this could come at a terrible cost to the community down the track.
With privatisation, the community always pays. Whether it is through higher prices, fewer jobs and apprenticeships or poorer quality services (maintenance).
And, with the privatisation of Western Power, it would be all pain and no gain. Even if every cent raised through the sale or lease was used to pay off Colin Barnett's debt, the interest saved wouldn't offset the financial benefits Western Power would have delivered to the state government each year, if it was still in public ownership.
In fact, the only people who would benefit are the stockbrokers and corporate advisors on St George's Terrace, who would make hundreds of millions of dollars in commission on the transaction.
If you want to stop the privatisation of Western Power and the rest of our electricity system, use your power and get rid of the Liberals at the next state election.