Clash of candidates

Clash of candidates

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Liberal candidate for Cannington Jesse Jacobs has criticised the Labor party’s plan for energy but his opponent Bill Johnston rubbished his claims. Photograph – Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne.

The major party candidates for the seat of Cannington have butted heads for the first time this state election campaign over the issue of energy.

Liberal candidate Jesse Jacobs has criticised the Labor Party of running a ‘Mediscare’ type campaign against the Western Power privatisation and warned of the dangers of setting a renewable energy target.

Labor Member for Cannington Bill Johnston said privatisation did not work and said the party did not have a renewable energy target set.

Mr Johnston told the National Environmental Law Association State Conference in October it had set a 50 per cent renewable target by 2030.

Earlier this month however he clarified they would not introduce a state target and would instead consult industry and the community to see what was ‘achievable and affordable’ after the election.

The Liberal Party has confirmed they would sell 51 per cent of Western Power to pay down debt and fund infrastructure.

Mr Jacobs said a 50 per cent target was similar to the South Australian model.

He said he thought it was ironic that Labor were trying to run a Western Power Mediscare-type campaign and he would fight hard against ‘deceit and scare tactics’ to make sure voters were informed before they voted.

“You can either vote for the architect of the off-and-on again 50 per cent renewable target and take the power bill hike of $200 a year with the constant power cuts or you could vote for Jesse Jacobs and have stable base load power,” he said.

“The choice couldn’t be starker at this election.”

He said his party had a real plan for stable, efficient and affordable power going forward under their plan Langford Senior High School would receive $12 million from the partial sale of Western Power.

Mr Johnston rubbished Mr Jacobs’ claims and said it was surprising the Liberal Party used words like ‘deceit’ after their 2013 ‘fully funded, fully costed’ election campaign.

“(It) proved to be one of the biggest political frauds in West Australia’s history,” he said.

“WA Labor does not have and never has had a policy to have a state-based 50 per cent renewable energy target in WA.

“As shadow minister for energy I am pleased that groups like the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry have welcomed our approach to renewable energy.

“People who are familiar with the energy system know that South Australia’s energy system was privatised by the Liberal Party and is part of the National Energy Market.

“These are the exact polices being pursued by the WA Liberal Party.

“Everyone knows privatisation leads to higher prices, less maintenance and the risk of foreign buyers taking our assets.

“That’s not a scare campaign, that’s simply the lived experience of local residents who have suffered from previous failed Liberal Party privatisations like wasting over $100 million on paying Serco to run an empty Fiona Stanley Hospital.”

For more state election stories and candidate profiles click here.

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