Premier Colin Barnett reveals Western Power sale plans

Premier Colin Barnett has announced details of the partial privatisation of Western Power, revealing the creation of a Next Generation fund to pay for infrastructure expenditure in schools, TAFE facilities and transport.

Mr Barnett said $3 billion would be generated from selling 51 per cent of the utility, with another $8 billion to be used to pay down government debt.

“The part sale of Western Power will provide the funds needed to expand the state's capital works program to fix local schools, build new transport links, and stimulate the State's economy,” he said.

Treasurer and energy minister Mike Nahan said there would be no increase in the cost of electricity for consumers as a result of the proposed sale.

“Under the 51 per cent public float proposal, the state government will remain the largest shareholder (at 49 per cent), with indicative targets of 30 per cent of shares being sold to Australian superannuation funds and 20 per cent to mum and dad retail investors, including Western Power employees,” he said.

“This model will address any national security concerns about foreign ownership.”

Dawesville Liberal candidate Zak Kirkup welcomed the announcement.

“As I meet people across our community, I know the issue of jobs and the future of our economy remains top of mind for many families,” he said.

“The decision today to fund $3 billion in long term infrastructure investments, and $8 billion to pay down state debt is central to the Liberal party’s plan to address these concerns.”

But his Labor opponent Adam Woodage said he would campaign to keep Western Power in local hands.

“Selling Western Power is not in the best interests of everyday Western Australians and does not make economic sense,” he said.

“If we let Colin Barnett and Brendon Grylls sell it, we will lose its ongoing revenue that goes a long way to paying for our schools and hospitals.”

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