Bushfire Claimants Consultative Committee queries State Government power pole position

Stock image.
Stock image.

Four-and-a-half years after bushfires razed 57 homes in the Perth Hills, there are no mandatory private power pole inspections in WA.

Volunteer fireman Greg Jones defended his neighbours’ properties and his own home in the 2014 Parkerville, Mt Helena and Stoneville fires.

At the time, he was president of the Stoneville and Parkerville Progress Association and he became the co-ordinator-spokesman for the Bushfire Claimants Consultative Committee.

He wrote to the then government with a proposal for a private power pole inspection scheme.

“Under the scheme, qualified inspectors would carry out the inspections and there would be a database of private power poles in WA,” he said.

“You can’t rely on mums and dads to find someone in Yellow Pages; these checks have to be done by trained inspectors. We suggested Western Power was the best option to carry out the inspections because the cable, the attachments and the service belongs to them.”

He said the inspection scheme was cost-neutral because costs would be recovered through the rates as part of the emergency services levy.

More jobs would be created for inspectors on the ground.

“The Labor State Government promised to fix Western Power; now is their opportunity to do so,” he said.

Costs would be recovered through the emergency services levy.

The Gazette asked Energy Minister Ben Wyatt if the State Government would introduce a state-run private power pole inspection scheme.

“Given the very purpose of the (ongoing) case is to determine who has the responsibility for inspecting and maintaining the power poles on private properties, it would be inappropriate for Government to comment on issues and matters being raised during the legal process,” a spokesman said.“The Government is, however, paying close attention to the case and will certainly consider all of the findings which come out of it.”