The Journey so far - 2017 WA State Election
In the lead up to the 2017 state election, Colin Barnett and Liza Harvey announced they would sell Western Power if they were returned to office.
The Liberals had put up electricity prices by more than 100 per cent, as they prepared Western Power for sale. If they had won the election and privatised Western Power, prices would have gone up even further, as the new private owners sought to maximise profits.
That had been the experience in states like South Australia, where their electricity system was completely privatised. It would have been the same in WA.
During the 2017 election campaign, the people of WA came together and stopped privatisation in its tracks. The Liberals were defeated and Labor junked the Barnett-Harvey privatisation plan.
Through the hard work of our volunteers, we saw our small grassroots campaign grow into an unprecedented movement in WA, with more and more people joining our cause as the election drew near.
We saw people voice their concerns and unite their communities in town hall meetings across the state.
We saw people from all backgrounds take to the streets of their local suburbs to tell their neighbours why this was such an important issue.
We saw thousands of supporters rally at Parliament to send a message to our politicians and make privatisation the number one election issue.
And when the election rolled around, we saw the people of Western Australia use their power at the ballot box to kick out Colin Barnett, Liza Harvey and the Liberals. That election saved our state’s electricity network from privatisation.
But now, it seems we have to make our case once again.
Since the Liberals’ election defeat, Liza Harvey has gone on radio and spoken in favour of privatising Western Power. In her first radio interview after becoming leader, she said Liberal policy on privatisation would be decided closer to the next election. After we ramped up our campaign, she said she no longer supported the privatisation of Western Power.
But, given the Liberals’ record on privatisation, can we believe them? Like Colin Barnett, Liza Harvey was 100 per cent opposed to privatisation before the last election, until she was 100 per cent in favour of it.
The community relies on our publicly owned energy utilities.
Western Australia’s COVID-19 response is only possible because of our publicly-owned energy utilities.
Ensuring we have a reliable supply of electricity during times of crisis enables other essential services, such as health and education, to care for our community. It enables industry to keep operating and creating jobs. And it powers households, where many of us are isolating, working or not.
In these challenging times, our publicly-owned energy utilities are crucial because they focus on supplying reliable power to West Australians, instead of returning profits to shareholders.
West Australians overwhelmingly rejected the privatisation of Western Power at the 2017 State Election.
It was the right decision.
Let’s support our public sector energy workers during the current crisis and use our power to keep our electricity system in public hands.