Former police minister Rob Johnson has fired a parting shot at Premier Colin Barnett as he resigned as a member of the Liberal Party, saying the state’s debt burden was out of control, among other issues.The 72-year-old Mr Johnson hasn’t ruled out an independent tilt at the seat of Hillarys, however, which he currently holds with a two-party preferred vote of 69 per cent, adding he had received overwhelming support to do so.Until the election, he said he will serve as an independent Liberal.“I can no longer support this government and in particular, a leader who has lost my respect,” Mr Johnson said in a statement today.“I have serious concerns in relation to this government’s commitment to honesty, integrity, openness and accountability.“Much to the chagrin of some of my parliamentary Liberal colleagues, I have been quite vocal over the past few years about the financial legacy that is being left to our future generations. “This premier has racked up the largest debt in West Australian history. “A debt that is still increasing by around $15 million every single day. “A debt that is predicted to reach around $37 billion by the next election. “Treasury has predicted that it could reach between $47 billion and $87 billion within the next seven years. “To try and reduce some of the debt, the premier is selling off the assets that should have been left for our future generations.”The latest budget forward estimates released in December indicate the debt will peak at just below $40 billion at the end of the decade, although that was predicated on a fast improvement in the state’s GST share.Mr Johnson reportedly also fired a shot at activities in the branches in his local area, saying there had been involvement from religious sects.Mr Johnson joined parliament in 1993 as the member for Whitfords, a seat which was then abolished.He served five terms as the member for Hillarys, including as works minister under Richard Court and police and road safety minister under Mr Barnett.Mr Johnson today said his work in road safety was something of which he was most proud.“The significant reforms I introduced as minister in this area rank as some of the most proudest moments of my career, particularly ensuring 100 per cent of revenue from speed and red light camera fines goes into the road trauma trust account,” he said. “However, it has pained me to see the (account) being abused over the past few years under this government and I refuse to stay silent on this issue as people are losing their lives or being critically injured as a result. “Year after year, tens of millions of dollars in this account continues to sit idle and unspent when it should be used towards life saving measures.”
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