National

Harvey rules out Western Power sale

By AAP Newswire

Newly-appointed West Australian Liberal leader Liza Harvey has ruled out part-privatising Western Power, saying it is no longer needed with higher GST and iron ore revenues boosting the state's budget.

Selling 51 per cent of the utility was central to the Barnett government's re-election campaign in 2017, which Labor won in a landslide.

One day after becoming the state's first female Liberal leader, Ms Harvey has ruled out a sale, saying it's no longer party policy.

"It was a time when we were receiving just 30 cents in the dollar from GST and iron ore receipts were at record lows - that time has passed," she said on Friday.

Treasurer Ben Wyatt said Ms Harvey had already committed to cutting household fees and charges and increasing public sector wages, but was "now ruling out a way to pay for it".

"Ultimately, you've got to pay for this somehow," Mr Wyatt said.

"They can't be trusted on the finances. Here she is ... promising all things to all people."

Ms Harvey accused the government of staggering hypocrisy, given the state-owned assets it has "sold by stealth" over the past two years including a wind farm.

"Add to this the sale of Landgate, PEXA and the planned sale of the TAB and it's clear the McGowan government is propping up its budget with the sale of income-generating public assets," she said.

Mr Wyatt's comments represent his opening salvo on Ms Harvey's seemingly minimal financial credentials.

She replaces a former state treasurer and economist, Mike Nahan, while former Premier Colin Barnett was also an economist.

With former minister Bill Marmion securing the deputy role, Mr Wyatt labelled the new Liberal leaders the "reheated version" of the Barnett government, which piled on record debt.

Ms Harvey has also suggested relief for small businesses and says she's committed to a budget surplus.