Barnett Government is softening up WA public for electricity privatisation.

Monday 18 Jan 2016

Media reports that Liberal MPs are calling for the privatising of publicly owned electricity assets suggest the Barnett Government has commenced softening up the public for the sale of this important essential service.

Liberal Member for Wanneroo was quoted as calling for the sale of Synergy’s electricity generation and distribution assets in media reports today. With Barnett Government debt projected to hit almost $40billion, Mr Miles suggested privatisation as a way of meeting future expenses.

The Australian Services Union (ASU) and Electrical Trades Union (ETU) have been campaigning against the privatisation of WA’s electricity network since 2014.

ASU WA Branch Assistant Secretary Jill Hugo, said the public comments from Mr Miles, are a sign that the Barnett Government was about to start the process of privatisating electricity in WA.

“We have been saying for almost 18 months that the State Government intends to privatise Western Australia’s electricity network in an effort to deal with the debt it has wracked up through spending on the wrong priorities,” Ms Hugo said.

“ Paul Miles’ comments are all part of the softening up process. Mr Miles is known as a team player, and we seriously doubt he would be out there talking about this, unless he had been given the nod by the Premier and Treasurer.”

“Mr Miles is just a mouthpiece for Mr Barnett and Dr Nahan, and is publicly stating what they are secretly planning.”

ETU WA Branch Secretary Les McLaughlan called on the State Government to come clean with the WA public about their plans for electricity privatisation.

“It’s about time the Barnett Government were up front and honest about their plans to sell-off these valuable public assets,” he said.

“Privatisation will inevitably lead to foreign ownership, resulting in higher prices, poorer quality services, and Western Australian jobs heading overseas, as private companies try to squeeze every last dollar of profit for their shareholders.”

“Anxiety is high among workers in Synergy, Horizon and Western Power, who are understandably worried about their jobs, and the welfare of their families,”

“In addition to higher prices and poorer quality services, privatisation also means fewer jobs and apprenticeships. With the mining boom winding down, you would think the last thing the Barnett Government should be doing is pursuing changes that see quality jobs lost to Western Australia.” said Mr McLaughlan.