A Liberal Party move in the Legislative Council today could put 380 jobs at the proposed Beenup mineral sands mine at risk.
Fuel and Energy Minister Geoff Gallop said an urgency motion by the Liberal's MLC for the South West, Barry House, called for the Government to reconsider its decision to build a power line from Picton to Beenup.
He said Mr House was well aware that BHP's subsidiary, Mineral Deposits Ltd, could scrap the $135 million project if power to the mine site was delayed.
Notwithstanding this, he was posturing to less than a hundred landowners in the path of the power line route to put his political image ahead of the good of the State.
"The Picton to Beenup route for the line along the Great North Road will cost more than $2 million less than the other available options," Dr Gallop said.
"Mr House is pushing for SECWA to revert to the route from Manjimup to Beenup which passes through areas of heritage karri forest.
"This would involve undergrounding the line, as recommended by the EPA, which would add $5 million to the cost of the route.
"Extra costs have ramifications on SECWA's finances and on tariffs at a time when it is essential to reduce the gap between our power prices and other States."
Dr Gallop said SECWA was mindful of the concerns of landowners along the Picton route and every effort would be made to minimise the impact of the powerline.
The route would follow existing roads and tracks wherever possible. Where it crossed private property compensation would be paid after agreement was reached on the final position.
Landowners would be able to continue to use the land within the easement to maintain productive capacity.
"The power supply is needed for an important job-creating project and the Picton route is the best option for cost and environmental reasons," Dr Gallop said.
"Mr House and his Liberal colleagues should understand very clearly that if there is no power there will be no mine, and they must bear the responsibility for this."