WA to reverse Water Corp privatisation

The supply of water in Perth will be returned to government hands, Premier Mark McGowan announced.
The supply of water in Perth will be returned to government hands, Premier Mark McGowan announced.

The supply of water in Perth will be returned to government hands, potentially saving taxpayers millions of dollars.

At the state Labor Convention on Saturday, Premier Mark McGowan announced his government will end its contract to outsource water.

A Water Corporation delivery and maintenance services review in Perth and Mandurah resulted in the board's decision to in-source.

It will now be consistent with the way services are delivered in all other areas of the state.

In his speech, Mr McGowan said the responsible decision would save taxpayers about $2 million to $3 million a year.

"Twenty-five years ago, the Liberal government privatised the operations and maintenance services of Water Corporations water, wastewater and drainage networks," Mr McGowan said.

"Water Corporation's review identified that putting these services back in public hands would ensure consistent services are provided across the state."

The Premier said the transition would bring 256 workers back into the public sector.

Water Corporation will work with Programmed Facilities Management to transition the workforce and service provision by March 2020.

Mr McGowan also announced his government will invest $12.9 million to enhance workplace safety across the state.

An additional 24 full-time equivalent staff, including 21 inspectors, will be employed by WorkSafe.

The boost in inspector numbers will allow a ratio of one inspector to 10,000 employees.

"Worker safety is one of our highest priorities and our laws should reflect that," Mr McGowan said.

"We want to see workers operate in the safest conditions possible."

Australian Associated Press