Western Power good-cop, bad-cop routine must come to an end

Monday 18 Jul 2016

Unions representing thousands of workers in WA’s electricity system have called on Premier Colin Barnett and Treasurer Mike Nahan, to end the “good-cop, bad-cop” theatrics over the privatisation of Western Power, and provide certainty for workers and energy users, alike.

In recent weeks, Mr Barnett and Dr Nahan have appeared to contradict each other over the State Government’s intentions, in what appears to be a cleverly scripted routine to give the impression to the public that they are weighing up the pros and cons of privatisation.

The Australian Services Union (ASU) and Electrical Trades Union (ETU) joined forces in 2014 to campaign against the privatisation of WA’s electricity network.   The two unions believe that privatisation will lead to higher prices, poorer quality services, increased bushfire risk and fewer jobs and apprenticeships.

ASU Branch Secretary Wayne Wood said the games being played through the media by both the Premier and the Treasurer on the sale of Western Power was causing confusion about what the Governments real intentions were.

“Power workers and energy users deserve to know exactly what the Barnett Government’s real intentions are with regards the sale of Western Power,” he said.

“There is a lot anxiety among workers in Western Power, who are understandably worried about their jobs, and the welfare of themselves and their families,

“The State Government needs to stop with these political games, and announce once and for all whether or not it will privatise Western Power.”

ETU WA Branch Secretary Les McLaughlan said that the political games being played out by the Premier and the Treasurer were designed to distract the public from the real issues of selling an important asset like Western Power.

“WA voters understand that selling Western Power will mean higher electricity prices, cuts to jobs and apprenticeships, and an increased risk of bushfire from reduced preventative maintenance,” he said.

“Colin Barnett knows that the proposal to sell Western Power is very unpopular with the WA public, so he’s trying every political trick in the book to try and convince the electorate he’s consulting on this issue.

“I call on both the Premier and Treasurer to stop with the ‘good-cop, bad-cop’ games, and come clean on their real intentions for Western Power.”