08/11/2013 - 15:44

Barnett defends Kwinana terminal sale

08/11/2013 - 15:44

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Premier Colin Barnett has defended the government's plans to sell the Kwinana Bulk Terminal to Len Buckeridge in the hopes of bringing to an end the BGC chairman's $1 billion lawsuit against the state.

Barnett defends Kwinana terminal sale

Premier Colin Barnett has defended the government's plans to sell the Kwinana Bulk Terminal to Len Buckeridge in the hopes of bringing to an end the BGC chairman's $1 billion lawsuit against the state.

Mr Barnett has confirmed that the government will look to strike a private deal with Mr Buckeridge for the sale of the terminal, sparking anger from the opposition which claims the terminal should be put to tender to ensure the best possible return for taxpayers.

He says the sale will provide the best overall result for the state, warning the lawsuit could cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars.

"That is a risk I don't want to see Western Australia endure," Mr Barnett told reporters today.

"It would be a massive blow to our budget. Here we can find an amicable solution where the jetty is sold, some land is sold, we negotiate a price and that is the end of the matter; sometimes you've got to do deals like that to bring out an issue to a conclusion."

Mr Buckeridge has spent years attempting to build a private port at James Point and struck a deal with the Court government in 2000 but has encountered opposition from successive governments.

The premier has stated his support for the construction of a bulk goods berth but not the construction of a container facility.

It is understood that there remains a substantial gulf between Mr Buckeridge and the government on any potential deal.

Labor transport spokesman Ken Travers said the process being proposed by the government was a recipe for disaster.

"What we need is a clear and transparent transaction," he said.

"How can the public be assured that taxpayers will get the maximum possible return for the sale of a public asset if the port facility is only being offered to one buyer?

"The proposed sale and the legal action need to be kept separate. We need a clear and open process on both issues. The public needs to be confident that the state has got the best value for every Western Australian."

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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