Western Power sale will increase council rates and street lighting costs, says State Opposition Leader Mark McGowan


East-Metro MLC Amber-Jade Sanderson, Bayswater Mayor Barry McKenna and WA Opposition leader Mark McGowan.
East-Metro MLC Amber-Jade Sanderson, Bayswater Mayor Barry McKenna and WA Opposition leader Mark McGowan.

STATE Opposition leader Mark McGowan believes the proposed privatisation of Western Power will increase local council rates and street lighting costs.

East Metropolitan MLC Amber-Jade Sanderson and Bayswater Mayor Barry McKenna joined Mr McGowan to address issues related to the proposal at Perth-Bayswater Rugby Club today.

Premier Colin Barnett recently proposed Western Power’s privatisation would “free up money to reduce debt and free up money for new expenditure on schools, hospitals, all the things that a growing population needs”.

But Mr McGowan said councils would struggle with a potential increase of street lighting costs.

“Street lighting is an important part of the bill that ratepayers pay, if Western Power is privatised, a monopoly state-owned property is privatised, the cost on ratepayers will go up,” he said.

“The best way to manage this is not to sell off Western Power and you do not put that upward pressure on the cost of street lighting therefore rates for local ratepayers.”

Cr McKenna said there was a spike in street lighting costs this year.

“Last year, on average, (it cost) $98,000 a month to pay for our street lighting…this year in our first quarter, we are up to $102,000 per month,” he said.

“Ratepayers obviously have to handle this but the concern I have as the local mayor is that we cannot keep absorbing these costs.

“We have to pass these costs to our ratepayers and as a responsible local government, we are doing everything we can to keep our costs at a minimum.”

Cr McKenna said if the privatisation went ahead, the City would have to cut services in other areas or increase their rates.