WA shadow treasurer Ben Wyatt has called on the National Party to declare where they stand on the Liberal government’s plan to sell off Western Power and Horizon Power.
On Thursday, the state government released the 2016-17 WA budget which contained the state’s largest ever debt – forecast to rise to an estimated $33.8 billion by June 30, 2017.
Included in the budget were plans to sell key assets including Western Power, Fremantle Port and the TAB to help lower the growing deficit.
Mr Wyatt said it is time for voters to ask the National Party if they support the sale of Western Power.
“I note the treasurer Mike Nahan said Terry Redman supports it and he just need to convince his electorate and members,” Mr Wyatt said.
“I want to know and the Nationals need to make clear now, do they support the sale of those assets.
“This is not a new issue, this has been in the public debate for two years.
“It’s my view that Terry Redman has given a wink and a nod to the Liberal Party to say ‘I’ll let this through the parliament in the event we get a third term in office’.”
National Party leader Terry Redman was in Bunbury on Friday afternoon with Premier Colin Barnett to promote the $25 million funding commitment to the Bunbury Waterfront project.
Mr Redman said he and his party will engage with their far-reaching constituency and make an announcement on their position soon.
“The electors will be absolutely certain of our position when they come to put their mark on a bit of paper and … we are not going to leave them sitting in limbo on this issue,” he said.
“The election is less than 12 months away so it’s not something we can dilly-dally on, but you can be assured people will know our position as we go to the election.
“[Western Power is] a significant asset and it’s core to people living and doing business in regional WA. The decision is something we have to be very careful about.”
Mr Wyatt told reporters on Friday the sale of Western Power will undoubtedly give the state’s finances a short sugar rush but the real issue was what had been created by government spending.
“Colin Barnett spent without restraint and if you sell an asset like Western Power it will give a huge increase in short-term money but unless you resolve the spending issues you will be back in the same position in five to ten years without the assets,” he said.
“The government have had the arrogance to tie-up the financial capacity of the governments elected in 2017 and 2021 because what they are going to have to do, whoever is elected in those years, is pay for the spending of Mr Barnett over the last eight years.”
Mr Wyatt also told reporters he is impressed every time he visits Bunbury by the ease of getting to the City and how beautiful it is looking (and the joy of stopping at the Miami Bakehouse for a pie).
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