WA Labor heightens opposition to privatisation of Western Power with petition

WA Labor candidate for Joondalup Emily Hamilton with Opposition leader Mark  McGowan.
WA Labor candidate for Joondalup Emily Hamilton with Opposition leader Mark McGowan.

WA Labor has heightened its opposition to the possible privatisation of Western Power, starting a petition against the proposal.

Labor claims the State Government will lose more than $500 million in revenue if the Liberal Party sells the utility.

Labor candidate for Joondalup Emily Hamilton said local residents were “sick and tired of their power bills increasing dramatically to prop up the Barnett Liberal Government’s massive debt and dysfunction”.

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“WA cannot afford to sell Western Power – it is an essential public service that provides the Government with a significant income,” she said.

Labor also claims power bills will rise.

But an ABC fact check conducted last year, when NSW Labor was also opposed to the sale of its state’s electricity assets, found no consistent link between privatisation and electricity prices.

The fact check labelled such claims “spin”, basing its response on expert opinion and a report from the Australian Energy Regulator.

One such expert is Lynne Chester, a University of Sydney energy researcher, who was referenced saying:

“The evidence does not support the claim of either higher or lower prices following privatisation.”

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”.

Readers interested in signing Labor’s petition can visit www.markmcgowan.com.au/stopwpsale.