The Nationals WA have announced they support the partial sale of Western Power, with the proceeds being used to improve transport and education infrastructure, as well as regional power supplies.
Earlier yesterday, Leader of The Nationals WA Brendon Grylls MLA announced the proceeds from a partial-sale of Western Power would be reinvested into new projects through a $3 billion Next Generation Account.
“The Next Generation Account will deliver funding to priority areas for the State, including upgraded schools and TAFE facilities, transport infrastructure and improving the reliability of electricity supplies in regional areas,” Ms Davies said.
Proceeds from the partial-sale would benefit regional communities particularly those on the edge of the grid.
“For regional residents living at the end of long feeder lines, this additional investment will allow us to deliver edge-of-grid energy solutions such as microgrids,” she said.
“We will have a fund to improve outcomes for families and businesses which have struggled with intermittent and unreliable power supply using innovative solutions already being trialed by Horizon Power in places like Ravensthorpe.”
Under the 51 per cent float proposal, the State Government would remain the largest shareholder at 49 per cent, the remaining shares would be sold to Australian superannuation funds and ‘mum and dad’ investors, including Western Power employees.
“Strict employee protections will be put in place, including no forced redundancies and ensuring a continuation of annual apprentice traineeship intakes,” she said.
She also said there would continue to be independent regulators to oversee various parts of the business, including maintaining a safe and reliable network, pricing and performance.
“Western Power is a regulated monopoly, which means no matter who owns it they must meet certain criteria in relation to safety, pricing and performance,” she said.
“The total cost of your electricity bill is determined by the State Government of the day, regardless of who owns Western Power, and the network charges are just one component of this cost.”
Ms Davies said the State Government put more money into Western Power every year than it received back via a dividend.
“There is no truth in the claims by the Opposition that we are selling an asset that makes money for the taxpayer,” she said.
She said the decision by The Nationals WA had been carefully considered, and had included making sure grassroots members of the Party from across the State could debate the issue at the annual State Conference, held recently in Geraldton.
Mr Grylls said The Nationals WA were committed to asset recycling to ensure proceeds from the sale of State-owned assets were reinvested into new job creating infrastructure projects.
“The Next Generation Account will create thousands of new jobs for West Australian workers including builders, tradespeople, engineers, technology providers and support staff,” he said.
“Importantly, this initiative will create new jobs and deliver hundreds of new projects while reducing State debt by $8 billion.”
For media enquiries please contact Mia Davies on 08 9041 1702 (Merredin office), 08 9622 2871 (Northam office) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.