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Coalition continues to slash debt through sale of Westrail freight business
31/10/2000 2:53 PM
Premier Richard Court says the State Government will continue its commitment to financial responsibility by using funds from the sale of Westrail’s freight business to retire debt.
Mr Court said all of the sale proceeds after costs would be used to pay-off existing debt within Westrail.
The State had received $585 million for the freight business from a consortium which includes Wesfarmers Limited and international rail operator Genesee and Wyoming.
The Premier said that once employee transition costs ($48 million), stamp duty ($28 million) and sale costs ($15-$20 million) were taken into account, $489 million would be allocated to reduce Westrail debt.
“We are sustaining a commitment that has seen the Coalition significantly reduce public sector debt through using proceeds from the sale of BankWest, the Dampier to Bunbury natural gas pipeline, AlintaGas and now Westrail Freight to slash debt levels,” he said.
“Funds from other sales have also been used to strengthen our communities through investment in a range of capital projects across all regions of the State in areas such as public transport, health, education and sporting facilities to benefit all Western Australians.
“Under the Coalition the net debt for WA has more than halved from 20 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to less than eight per cent.
“Paying off Westrail debt will also reduce the State’s interest payments.
“We are now saving more than $300 million annually in interest payments compared with when the Coalition came to office in 1993.”
Media contact: Casey Cahill - 9222 9475