Greens welcome Auditor-General’s PUPP investigation

Thursday, 5 February
Greens member for the Mining and Pastoral Region Robin Chapple MLC has welcomed news that WA’s Auditor-General will investigate the much-maligned Pilbara Underground Power Project (PUPP).
The project was expected to cost $130 million and be finished by 2014 with a projected cost to ratepayers, through the introduction of a council levy, of $21 million; an average contribution of $3,300.
The budget for PUPP has since blown out to more than $230 million and the ratepayers of Karratha, not the state government, are being forced to pay the higher than anticipated costs.
Mr Chapple said he hoped the Auditor-General’s findings would exonerate the Karratha ratepayers of paying for the government’s mistakes.
“The whole Pilbara Underground Power Project has become a bit of a shambles really,” he said.
“It was initiated to combat the power outages Pilbara residents are faced with each year during cyclone season, however the whole Northwest is fed via massive 220kv overhead transmission lines that span the Pilbara coastline.
“The last power outage, caused by Cyclone Christine in December last year, happened because one of these transmission lines was brought down and had nothing to do with the power network of Karratha and other Pilbara towns.
Mr Chapple said the former local government had not been able to be clear to the residents about the costs of the project to be borne by them.
“Residents weren’t adequately consulted, they were just told it was happening and that they would be charged a council levy,” he said.
“I don’t necessarily disagree with sinking the power in major centres across the Pilbara as an added safety net, but this budget blowout has nearly doubled the cost of the project.
“It is simply outrageous that Karratha ratepayers should have to pay for the mistakes of horizon power and the state government.”
For more information please contact Robin Chapple on 0409 379 263 or 9486 8255.
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