The West

Collier defends $102m blowout
Peter Collier. File picture: The West Australian

WA Energy Minister Peter Collier is deflecting calls for his sacking over cost blowouts in the Muja coal-fired power station refurbishment.

Opposition energy spokesman Bill Johnston said Mr Collier had assured parliament in October that the project would be completed two months later with a cost blow out of $15.7 million.

However the Department of Treasury revealed in its updated budget statement on Thursday that the project remained incomplete and the blowout now amounted to $102 million.

It also warned of further costs and delays.

Mr Johnston said the original cost of the project was $150 million.

He said over the past four years, Mr Collier had presided over cost over-runs for other energy projects and had not cleared up confusion about the mooted re-merger of utilities Verve and Synergy.

“If Premier Colin Barnett has any standards of conduct for his ministers, he must sack Mr Collier immediately,” Mr Johnston said.

Mr Collier said the blowout had been caused by complex technical problems, the likes of which WA had not seen.

An explosion in one of the four boilers at Muja last year prompted the operators to strengthen the piping and boiler work.

“The project will not compromise safety for the sake of cost,“ he said.

Mr Collier said he had ordered a thorough and independent review of the project by the Public Utilities Office in conjunction with the Department of Treasury.

He was confident the project would be profitable in the future and enhance the State’s energy security.


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