Western Mining Corporation was wrong to suggest that the State Government was not addressing Western Australia's high energy costs, Fuel and Energy Minister Geoff Gallop said today.
"The Government is committed to achieving a reduction of at least 25 per cent in the price of electricity by the turn of the century," Dr Gallop said.
"The proposed Collie power station will enable this to be met.
"Western Mining also needs to be reminded that small to medium-sized business in WA benefited from a tariff reduction of up to five per cent from November 1 this year. These tariff changes are estimated to reduce business customer electricity costs by $12 million this year, with the prospect of further decreases next year.
For domestic consumers, there has been no tariff increase this year. Last year the increase was two per cent, the smallest increase in Australia.
"As well, Goldfields customers have benefited from a reduction in line charges to the tune of $2 million."
Dr Gallop said WMC had been assisted by the Government and SECWA in a number of areas over the years. For example, it was paying a lot less for gas now than when its plant was first connected.
"I am disappointed that the company can throw out the old lines of increasing competition and structural reform when these issues are being addressed vigorously by the Government," he said.
"SECWA has begun the complex task of isolating its gas transmission business from the rest of its work as part of establishing an independent authority to own and operate the Dampier-to-Bunbury natural gas pipeline.
"Gas producers will have open access to the pipeline - and the market place - at fair and equitable transport charges.
"The decision to establish the authority, which will encourage competition between gas producers, was announced in the WA Advantage earlier this year.
"The form of the proposed authority will be decided after the State election, when the Energy Board of Review, chaired by Sir Roderick Carnegie, will have completed its final report.
"As well, SECWA has introduced a co-generation policy, with a range of buy-back tariffs and competitive co-generated electricity will be sought by SECWA to bring about cheaper prices.
"Contrary to WMC's claims, massive changes are being made, and WA will benefit through cheaper electricity, better investment prospects and more jobs."