Fuel and Energy Minister Geoff Gallop moved today to dispel union fears about any possible restructuring of SECWA.
Dr Gallop was responding to Trades and Labour Council claims that the Government had already made up its mind to break up SECWA.
"It is true to say that the Government is committed to the establishment of an independent gas pipeline authority to encourage competition in the gas market," Dr Gallop said.
"However, it is incorrect to assume that the Government has a pre-determined plan to break up SECWA."
Dr Gallop said the Government had established a board of review to investigate the benefits that might be obtained by restructuring the electricity and gas industry. Sir Roderick Carnegie would chair this body and report directly to the Premier.
"It has always been intended that unions would be consulted in the course of this investigation," Dr Gallop said.
"The Government will establish a review team to consult with stakeholders, including major energy users and suppliers, peak industry bodies, SECWA and its employee representatives."
Dr Gallop said momentum for change had intensified following recent key developments. These included the Industry Commission report on energy and the prospect of a national power grid in the Eastern States.
It had become necessary for the Government to gain independent and expert advice on the merits of the proposals contained in the Industry Commission report. The Carnegie Review Board was an appropriate mechanism for this to happen.
"It is abundantly clear that we must reduce energy costs in Western Australia to generate industrial growth and employment opportunities," Dr Gallop said.
"The Government has pledged it will reduce energy costs by at least 25 per cent in real terms by the year 2000.
"Unions can be sure that change will not be pursued for the sake of change. At the same time, the Government cannot allow Western Australia's future to evaporate for the want of tough decisions."