Buswell affair damaged Govt: Premier
Buswell affair damaged Govt: Premier

Premier Colin Barnett says it is time to "back off" Troy Buswell but acknowledged the scandal surrounding the former treasurer has damaged the State Government.

But he has not ruled out Mr Buswell returning to Cabinet.

Answering questions in a live chat hosted by thewest.com.au today, the Premier denied Mr Buswell had "got away" with damaging a numbers of cars after driving home from a wedding in February.

"The issue of cost of damage to vehicles is still ongoing," he said.

READ THE LIVE CHAT | BARNETT BACKS BUSWELL OVER STANDARDS

"I in no way excuse his behaviour and yes, it has damaged not only Troy, but also the Government."

But the Premier did not rule out Mr Buswell returning to a Cabinet he lead, saying that was "highly unlikely".

"Troy would not be considered for a Cabinet position in the medium term. Right now his immediate concern is his state of health," he said.

Mr Barnett said the issue of Mr Buswell damaging the vehicles was separate to his health.

"He was clearly very distressed yesterday and while I and others might have wished he'd said more, the time has come to back off," Barnett said

"Troy has clearly said all that he intends to say."

The Premier rejected the suggestion he had protected Mr Buswell.

"I have not protected Troy in any way. He has been subject to the law like any other citizen and has been given a penalty like any other citizen would. Again, I do not excuse his behaviour."

On other issues, Mr Barnett said there would be a "modest increase" in public transport fares in tomorrow's State Budget.

Quizzed by The West Australian's State Political Editor Gareth Parker on the prospect of the Roe Highway stage eight extension being built with Commonwealth money under the proviso it was a toll road, Mr Barnett said toll roads would not be introduced into WA.

"However, there is a case for raising more revenue from the operators of heavy vehicles, which do cause most of the wear and tear on our roads," Mr Barnett said.

"The State by itself could not fund Roe 8 in this term of Government, we therefore would welcome any moves by the Commonwealth to fund the majority of that project.

"Roe 8 is a central part of our metro roads system, particularly to deal with heavy traffic and separate that from residential areas."

The West Australian

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