Today’s announcement that West Australia’s Barnett Government plans to sell 51 percent of the state’s power utility if re-elected would cost local jobs and lead to higher electricity prices, according to the Association of Professional Engineers Australia.
Chris Walton, CEO of Professionals Australia said the Government’s plan was short-sighted and would compromise Western Australia’s technical capacity, in-turn risking the state’s power supply.
“Selling off this asset will only lead to job losses and a further loss to technical capacity the state simply cannot afford,” said Mr Walton.
“Privatising power utilities inevitably leads to job cuts, we have seen this time and time again in other States across the country.
“Selling off Western Power will only provide a short-term injection of funds to the state. The decision ignores the need for a long-term plan for development of technical capacity in the state.
“The Government has admitted it will sink $8 billion from this sale into a black hole of debt rather than investing it substantially in the state’s infrastructure needs.
“Selling off your power supply to pay down debt is a dumb way to manage the economy.
“We are already seeing the state government outsource many government projects to overseas suppliers, and now they want to sell off one of their largest assets to make a quick buck.
“The current Government needs to stop thinking of short term band-aids to fix their issues, and start focusing on how to address the bigger issues such as the loss of technical capacity and the current unemployment rate in the state.
“Any loss to engineering capacity as a result of the proposed sale could lead to black-outs and reliability issues, reminiscent of the Varanus Gas Explosion and Cyclone Carlos. There is also public concern that the sale of Western Power may lead to increased risk of bushfire if the 101,000km of power cabling isn’t adequately maintained.
“WA consumers already pay the highest costs for power in the country, the Government needs to ensure that WA consumers will not suffer as a result of their quick grab for cash,” said Mr Walton.
MEDIA CONTACT: SIOBHAN LYTTLE 0481 751 579