ONE of the private owners involved in a public private partnership agreed to under the former Barnett government for the operation of the Mundaring Water Treatment Plant has been sold four years into a 35-year agreement.
Water Minister Dave Kelly said the previous government entered into the public private partnership with Helena Water in July 2011 for the design, construction, finance and operation, and maintenance of the Mundaring Water Treatment Plant.
The $300 million water treatment plant treats water prior to it being pumped up the Goldfields pipeline to 100,000 people in the Perth Hills, Kalgoorlie and the agricultural region.
Beijing Enterprises Water Group International Pty Ltd has this week bought out TRILITY Australia Investment’s 25 per cent share in Helena Water.
Helena Water is also part-owned by Spain’s ACCIONA Agua and Aberdeen Asset Management of the UK.
Mr Kelly said the transaction had been approved by the Foreign Investment review Board.
He said the transaction demonstrated one of the potential pitfalls of privatising important water infrastructure.
“When the previous government privatised the water treatment plant they claimed to have carefully selected the right private partners with the necessary expertise and long-term commitment,’’ he said.
“Yet now, just four years into a 35-year contract, one of the major owners is selling out.
“It is the McGowan Government’s belief that important water infrastructure should remain in public hands.’’