2021 Christmas Outage Review a Predictable Sham

Mar 24, 2022 | David Honey MLA, State News

Energy Minister Bill Johnston’s Review into the 2021 Christmas Power Outages, finally delivered 9 days late, has revealed a massive underspend in Western Power infrastructure, according to WA Liberal Leader and Shadow Minister for Energy, Dr David Honey MLA.

The Review, which was promised to be released on the 14th of March, has revealed that since 2017, $368 million dollars less was spent on Western Power electrical distribution network assets than originally planned.

Dr Honey said the underspend says just about everything you need to know as to why the blackouts occurred.

“Why did Minister Johnston need a Review, that was started and delivered late, to tell us what he already should have known, they didn’t invest the money.

“This further discredits Johnston’s sham letter to the ERA asking for more funding – he already had the funding and chose not to use it.

“Furthermore, the impact of fire-ban protocols on repair times has been common knowledge for years, there is no excuse for the Government not to have resolved this issue already.

“As well, why did Western Australians have to wait nearly three months for inadequate answers and why are so many still suffering through blackouts since Christmas?

“As Energy Minister he would have known about the underspend and instead hides behind the assertion the grid is up to scratch.

“The 107,000 Western Australians who suffered the outages, including 26,000 without power for more than 12 hours and in some cases days, will know that not to be the case.

“The Minister is claiming the cause was an unusually hot summer, while WA has experienced multiple days over 40 degrees in the past.

“The McGowan Government simply cannot be trusted to keep the lights on.

“Imagine the thousands of dollars of food businesses lost, lifesaving refrigerated medication destroyed and much-needed air conditioning that was shut off during the heatwave.

“This was a traumatic event for many people that has been brushed off by this Government. Continuous, working electricity should be a basic requirement for Western Australia – to go days without power is no mistake, it’s a failure of Government.

“The Minister needs to commit to a comprehensive improvement in our electricity network to ensure that we never see a repeat of the disgraceful outages that occurred over Christmas,” said Dr Honey.