WA’s Treasurer has warned the sale of the Perth Marketplace Authority could be hit by “complications” if the essential legislation did not pass Parliament this week.
The warning came amid uncertainty more than whether or not the bill would pass the Legislative Council this week, soon after Labor warned it would not be rushed.
The Nationals have also brought amendments to the legislation, to offload the operator of Canning Vale’s Market City.
But if the Upper Home agreed to these amendments, it would imply the bill would have to be sent back to the Lower Residence for its agreement and that could not happen until its next sitting in February.
Some MPs are predicting late-night parliamentary sittings and potentially even the require to generate new sitting days in order to safe the legislation’s passage ahead of the house rises for the year.
But Treasurer Mike Nahan mentioned it was critical the legislation passed before the house adjourned for 2015.
“We have a number of bidders that have far more or much less finalised their bid and they want to get on with it,” he stated.
“I am confident they will get it through… and we want to get it by means of.
“The bids are all mature, ready to go, and it may possibly cause some complications with the bidding [if there was a delay in the legislation’s passage].”
Nationals reject call for urgency
But Nationals MP Martin Aldridge, who has moved amendments that would enshrine some sale circumstances in law and improve transparency, rejected the argument the bill had to pass this week.
“It would only be a matter of weeks for the Legislative Assembly to come back in mid-February and I cannot see any argument as to how that would jeopardise the sale method,” he stated.
The potential road-block from the Nationals came as the Opposition said it would do whatever it took to fully scrutinise the legislation.
“We are the house of assessment, this is a piece of legislation that seems to have been place together on the run. We will take as significantly time as we require to apply scrutiny to that legislation,” the Opposition’s Upper Home leader Sue Ellery said.
Ms Ellery’s Government counterpart Peter Collier conceded the passage of the legislation could take longer than anticipated, but said he was confident it would get completed this week.
“We are the Government and we can debate bills for weeks upon weeks, but ultimately the vote has to be taken and I consider we have reached that stage,” Mr Collier stated.
“We have had lots of time for debate. We need to respect the institution of the Parliament.”
The privatisation of the Market place Authority is 1 of a number of asset sales the Government is facilitating in an attempt to boost the state’s difficult spending budget position.
Subjects: government-and-politics, organization-economics-and-finance, perth-6000