Time to stop privatisation

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UnionsWA , the Save Our Services and Use Your Power groups have, at the one-year mark out from the 11 March 2017 WA state election, announced details of a range of activities in opposition to privatisation of public services and public assets.

Meredith Hammat, Secretary UnionsWA said:

“The Barnett Government is in serious trouble.

“Their Budget is a mess and pressure from big business to buy public services and assets mean privatisation will be one of the key issues for the 2017 election.

“Yet West Australians don’t like privatisation.

“They know it means that government loses on-going revenue, there’s a loss of accountability and as private operators boost profits, there are often increased consumer costs and poorer service.

“Marking one year from the 2017 election, Save Our Services has set key targets to oppose further privatisations.

“Existing supporters already number 17,300 and this is targeted to grow to over 40,000.

“In the past six months we’ve involved over 100 volunteers and made over 7,000 phone calls.

“In the six months before the next election we are planning to involve over 500 volunteers and make over 60,000 phone calls.

“So far the Fiona Stanley Hospital, prisons and prisoner transportation as well as water privatisation have been costly failures.

“The “For Sale” sign is up for the Fremantle port.

“The sale of Western Power and Horizon Power are next.

“Whether it’s to ensure water or energy supply or prevent crime or child abuse, the private sector has no incentive to invest for the future.”

The Australian Services Union (ASU) and Electrical Trades Union (ETU) joined forces in 2014 to campaign against the privatisation of WA’s electricity network.  The two unions believe that privatisation will lead to higher prices, poorer quality services, increased bushfire risk and fewer jobs and apprenticeships.

ETU WA Branch Secretary Les McLaughlan said that selling valuable publicly owned assets like Western Power was not the solution to address the Barnett Government’s fiscal failures, and that privatisation would seriously compromise the utility’s quality of service.

“Selling Western Power is not the solution for the government’s debt problems. Privatisation will result in an increase in the price of electricity for households, and see the quality of services suffer, as private owners try to squeeze every last dollar of profit for their shareholders,” he said.

“If our publicly owned poles and wires are sold to the private sector, they will only invest in the network when it is profitable for them to do so. 

“This could result in many parts of the network being left to decay, with disastrous consequences during bushfire season.”

Jill Hugo, Assistant Secretary, Australian Services Unions said:

“In addition to higher prices and poorer quality services, privatisation also means fewer jobs and apprenticeships, and you would think this is the last thing the Barnett Government should be doing in the current economic climate.”

“Mr Barnett’s use of privatisation as a way to address to his government’s budget problems is a betrayal of future generations, with today’s problems passed on to future generations to solve and pay for.”

Further information

Details of the #time2stopprivatisation campaign are available here.

Details of the Use You Power campaign are available here.

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