WA Treasurer Mike Nahan has declared the fire sale of State assets flagged in Thursday’s budget will happen – because it has to.
Dr Nahan, in his third budget handed down on Thursday, said the Government needed to sell assets like Western Power, Horizon Power and the TAB to try and restore the State’s AAA credit rating and fund capital works.
But, having already blocked the sale of Fremantle Port, the Nationals could prove a major stumbling block to those plans.
On Thursday Nationals leader Terry Redman said the sale of Western Power is far from a done deal, but the Treasurer said there is simply no other plan.
“Whatever Government comes on after the next election will have to do something like this,” Dr Nahan said on Friday.
“This is the plan, you don’t need a plan B.
“Without this, the future government will not be able to undertake the capital works it will propose in the next election (campaign) and that the State needs.
“Plan B, from Labor so far, is magic pudding.”
The Treasurer remains confident he can bring the Nationals round, despite Mr Redman saying he won’t sell Fremantle Port and being non-committal on Western Power.
“What he (Mr Redman) said is, in his critique of the Port of Fremantle, was he would rather us to go and put a case for it and argue the case in the public before the Parliament,” Dr Nahan said.
“That’s what we’re going to do on Western Power.
“He has no problem, to my knowledge, with (the sale of) Horizon Power.
“I’m very confident from my discussions with some of them that I can convince them on Western Power.”
But Fremantle Port is proving a tougher nut to crack.
“I’m still trying to come to grips with their issue on the Port of Fremantle,” Dr Nahan said.
“I’m getting very strong support from a wide range of rural, regional, agricultural lobby groups.
“I remain optimistic there that I can convince them – it’s not just him (Mr Redman), it’s his party.
“What we’re going to do is go out into the community, seek a mandate for this asset renewal program.
“It is the right thing to do.”
In an interview on 6PR, Dr Nahan said Australian superannuation funds were the most likely buyer for Western Power.