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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 558 asked in the Legislative Council on 7 September 2017 by Hon Robin Scott

Parliament: 40 Session: 1
Answered on

      558. Hon ROBIN SCOTT to the Minister for Regional Development:
      (1) Is the minister aware of an article in the Thursday, 7 September 2017 edition of the Kalgoorlie Miner attributing to the minister the intention of spending $500 000 of taxpayers' money on a feasibility study for a solar power station in Kalgoorlie–Boulder?
      (2) Does the minister agree that any such feasibility study is better conducted at the expense of private investors rather than taxpayers?
      (3) Will the minister assure the house that the government will not speculate with taxpayers' money in the construction of any kind of power station?
I thank the member for the question.
      (1)–(3) I went to the goldfields and launched our policy, so I am well and truly aware of the fact that we made an election commitment that we would invest up to $500 000 in a feasibility study. Please be assured that we do not want to waste taxpayers' money, but we understand that there is a real need in the goldfields to increase the availability of power. We have had representation from company after company in the goldfields telling us that they are unable to get adequate power for the mining or mineral processing projects.
Hon Robin Scott interjected.
Hon ALANNAH MacTIERNAN: We are happy to explore other ideas, if the member has other ideas, but I just let him know that in the first instance we are spending a lesser sum of money to develop a prospectus on the possibilities. If business as usual had solved the problem, we would not be getting all these representations from the goldfields that they are not able to drive forward, so we had to intervene. We will develop a study that will form the basis of a prospectus for the private sector, dealing with all the issues, such as land availability, grid connection—all the bits of information about the regulatory environment that a company would have to access to put a bid forward for this sort of project. Once we have done that body of work, we will convene an industry round table and determine the way forward.