Another broken promise as blackout hit businesses left in the dark over support

Opposition Leader Shane Love MLA has condemned the Cook Labor Government’s lack of action in providing essential to support to businesses grappling with the aftermath of catastrophic power outages across the Goldfields, Wheatbelt and Perth Hills last month.

Mr Love said that impacted businesses had received a mere $240 in support from the State Government to date.

“During the recent power and communications outages, countless businesses in Kalgoorlie-Boulder were left reeling, unable to open their doors or do business, and facing significant financial setbacks as a result,” Mr Love said.

“Local butchers, grocers, cafes, and restaurants were particularly hit hard, facing an average loss of over $16,000, and having to turn away customers, throw away temperature sensitive stock, or hire and operate generators.

“Several companies have reported losses greater than $50,000, and across the Goldfields these outages are estimated to have caused a massive $10 million in combined losses to businesses.

“The State Government absolutely has a role to play in providing support to these businesses, given their abject failure to ensure Kalgoorlie’s back-up gas turbines were up to the task or to restore power in a timely manner.”

Mr Love said the State Government had promised to deliver a support package for business, but no detail had been announced to date, and the Local Member for Kalgoorlie was not doing enough to keep the pressure on.

“One month after the blackout, which lasted for several days during a heatwave, businesses are still awaiting detail around the Government’s support package, and the Minister for Energy’s assurances have proven hollow.

“The Minister promised to speak to his Cabinet colleagues when they met on 22 January, but one month on and we have had nothing but radio silence.”

Mr Love said he had asked both the Premier and Minister for Energy for an update on their business support package in Parliament in recent weeks.

“The Premier mistakenly asserted that business losses could be recovered by insurance, which is not the case, and he inferred that no support beyond the $240 payment would be offered at this time, leaving many businesses to fund their recovery out of their own pockets.

“At a time when the cost-of-living crisis is being sorely felt across WA, the Labor Government and Member for Kalgoorlie have abandoned the business community in the Goldfields, and they must urgently outline a plan to provide support and compensation to those impacted.”

The Opposition has also called on the State Government to commit to an independent inquiry into the power outages.

“When Perth residents were plunged into darkness during the Christmas Power Outages of 2022, the Government fast-tracked an independent review into this incident.

“The 30,000 households and businesses in regional WA ravaged by prolonged outages in January this year deserve nothing less than the same level of response and consideration.”