Premier in Print

WESTERN Australians can be very pleased with the result of the successful listing of AlintaGas on the Australian Stock Exchange on October 17.

The sale brings benefits for everyone in the State with careful planning ensuring the proceeds are distributed responsibly and with a balance that has advantages for now and the future.

A key result from the sale is that we will pay $444.1 million off State debt, including $320 million to retire the AlintaGas debt in full.

This is in line with the Government’s ongoing commitment to sound financial management – a commitment that, in eight years, has enabled us to reduce the State’s debt from 20 per cent to eight per cent of gross domestic product.

At the same time, we are also building a stronger community. After the retirement of debt, the remaining $424.4 million from the AltinaGas proceeds will be invested in significant new capital assets.

These are in areas we see as a priority, including health, education, the environment and public transport.

THE new railway developments linking Mandurah through Perth, north to Clarkson, will create a continuous passenger rail link covering a distance of around 115kms.

We expect the number of cars on the freeways and major roads feeding into these systems will drop by about a third once the train network is complete.

That’s up to 15,000 cars a day.

At a cost of approximately $1.1 billion and with direct benefits for thousands of Western Australians, it is an exciting project, and one of the biggest public infrastructure projects in the State’s history.

AS I outlined in this column a couple of weeks ago, the State Government has been working on an incentive package to encourage more people to switch to vehicles that run on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

That scheme is now in place and means owners of vehicles on which the family rebate on registration is claimed will be able to get a one-off government payment when they buy an LPG-powered vehicle or convert to LPG.

Under the scheme, to be administered by the Department of Transport, the Government will contribute $500 per vehicle towards the cost of the new LPG-powered vehicle or the cost of converting.

The reason we are prepared to go ahead with the scheme is that we have received a commitment from the Federal Treasurer that the Commonwealth will not impose an excise on LPG.

That means it will remain extremely price competitive.

WE are ecstatic at the private sector response to the initiative, with Ford and Kleenheat Gas immediately announcing their support and adding extra incentives.

For example, Ford is joining with its Western Australian dealers to contribute the remaining $298 difference after the government’s incentive between the cost of a dedicated LPG and a petrol Ford Falcon.

With LPG prices considerably less than petrol, the combination of the Government and Ford incentives means buyers of new dedicated LPG Falcons will save money immediately.

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