Barnett must take privatisation plans to election, following Queensland result

Monday 02 Feb 2015

The Barnett Government must place a moratorium on the privatisation of all state assets and services, and take any future plans to the next state election.

The Electrical Trades Union (ETU) and Australian Services Union (ASU) said the result of the Queensland election represented a rejection of privatisation, and Colin Barnett should learn from Campbell Newman’s mistake.

ASU WA Branch Secretary Wayne Wood said the Barnett Government was up to its eyeballs in privatisation.

“Since being elected, Colin Barnett has privatised hospitals and prisons, and he is now moving on to water, ports and power,” Mr Wood said.

“Only last week, we saw the Barnett Government announce the privatisation of the Water Corporation’s Engineering and Construction Services Branch.

“Mr Barnett might say that he doesn’t intend to sell the Water Corporation, Synergy or Western Power as whole businesses, but privatisation is privatisation, whether it is done in a single large sale, or a number of smaller sales over time.”

ETU WA Branch Secretary Les McLaughlan said the community wanted state assets and services to remain in public hands.

“The community understands that privatisation leads to cutbacks, job losses, fewer apprentices and higher prices, because the number one priority of private companies is to make a profit,” Mr McLaughlan said.

“The assets and services that Mr Barnett is selling belong to the people of Western Australia, and Mr Barnett should not be privatising them, without an election mandate to do so.

“At the last State election, Mr Barnett said all of his promises were fully costed and fully funded.  He didn’t indicate he would need to raise additional funds, and didn’t disclose plans for the privatisation he is now undertaking.

“In the wake of the Queensland election, and the clear opposition of the community to privatisation, we call upon Mr Barnett to stop privatising state assets and services, until he explains to the WA community what he is doing and seeks their permission at the next state election.”