Governments of all persuasions appear to have forgotten that an important role of the government is to ensure that essential services are available to everyone at a cost which is affordable to everyone. That includes gas, electricity, telephones, internet access, roads, public transport, medical services (including hospitals), and basic banking. The infrastructure should be publicly owned, and run efficiently, with service providers allowed to use that infrastructure on an equal basis to provide the best service to the public.
Successive governments have run up debt, sometimes for good reasons, sometimes for bad, and tried to bail themselves out by selling publicly owned assets, nearly always without asking the public if they agree to such sales. Electricity generation should be under the control of a government authority which can access power from any source, in any quantity available, at an agreed price which reflects the cost of supply, and that authority should be able to generate its own supply where and when necessary. That should result in lifting the limit on the size of PV systems on homes and businesses, and the payment made to producers being closer to the charge made when grid power is used. As with electricity, the gas supply lines should all be owned and operated by the government, with service providers allowed to access the supply on behalf of their customers. Landline telephones are much more reliable and cheaper to operate than mobile facilities, and only have black spots where hardware fails, unlike their mobile equivalents. Landlines, cables connecting centres, and all exchanges should be under the control of the government, with services being provided by any operator which wishes to get access to the infrastructure, on the same pricing structure, which should reflect the cost of maintaining that infrastructure. Roads should be constructed for long-term use with minimal maintenance. Commuter traffic should be discouraged from trying to enter the CBD or surrounds as roads should be provided for everyone on an equitable basis, and not based on significant commuter peaks. To assist, public transport should be made more frequent and FREE. The cost saving on road construction and maintenance will more than pay for the provision of free public transport. When the last of the government-owned banks was sold service standards dropped significantly and charges went up rapidly, because the banks were more interested in making money for shareholders than providing essential banking services. The government should start a new WA Bank, run it at a profit to pay shareholders (namely the government acting on behalf of the public) and providing essential services at a reasonable cost, avoiding exorbitant fees, which the others will then discard because of competition.
I will push strongly for:
● infrastructure for roads, telephones (including internet), electricity, gas, and public transport to be completely owned and run by the government;
● service providers to be encouraged to use the infrastructure to provide essential services with the same access arrangements for all providers;
● free public transport;
● a new WA Bank, owned and run by the government to provide banking facilities to everyone at a reasonable cost;
● literally signature only credit and debit cards (i.e. no PIN, no touch-and-go) to be available from all providers of such cards, to increase security;
● the government electricity supplier, currently Synergy, being able to buy all the power it wants to buy from domestic and business customers, to reduce the cost of buying electricity from traditional power stations or generating that electricity itself;
● maintenance of the electricity grid to be firmly in the control of the government and paid for through taxes, not by charging customers again;
● help from the new State government to get expansion of Medicare to include physiotherapy, dentistry and alternative therapies.
Authorised by Steven Secker, 4 Dower Court, Armadale.