The State Government should sell to the nation's superannuation funds most of Perth's electricity system, all ports and even convert major roads to tollways under a plan to slash debt and free-up cash for desperately needed projects.
Infrastructure Australia believes Verve, Western Power, Fremantle Ports, the Water Corporation and Forest Products Commission should be sold in a move that would reap the State tens of billions of dollars.
Verve could be worth $2.5 billion to the State Government, Fremantle Ports $500 million and the Water Corporation more than $5 billion.
The authority believes by selling publicly owned assets, the nation's infrastructure deficit could be turned around while the assets themselves would be better run and at a lower cost.
It follows a Productivity Commission report this week that urged the privatisation of WA's electricity network, saying it would help keep a lid on power prices to consumers.
The Infrastructure Australia report was prompted by continuing high levels of government ownership and complaints, particularly by industry groups, that States have been unable to keep up with providing infrastructure necessary for the economy to operate productively.
At the same time, Australian super funds hold more than $1 trillion in assets.
National infrastructure co- ordinator Michael Deegan said States could sell many assets and sink proceeds into schools, hospitals and roads.
"Governments around Australia need to explore new methods of financing and developing the infrastructure needed to improve national productivity," Mr Deegan said.
"If we are to build on and sustain the living standards of all Australians, governments need to recognise that they cannot bridge the current funding gap."
The authority believes the Government's ports should be the first put on the market.
With better regulation, Verve, Western Power, Synergy and the Water Corporation would also be ready for sale.
The introduction of tolls, and heavy-vehicle charging would pave the way for the sale of some major roads.
Business Council of Australia president Tony Shepherd said money released by selling public assets could be used to deliver vitally important infrastructure to capital and major cities across the nation.
"Governments should now move to sell the identified assets once they are satisfied there is a sufficiently robust regulatory regime in place to protect consumers and encourage efficient investment," he said.Premier Colin Barnett said yesterday there were no plans to sell the assets.
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