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First Round of Government Asset Sales Announced

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The State Government will sell Market City in Canning Vale and port handling facilities in Port Hedland and Kwinana in the first round of asset sales to reduce the State’s debt levels.

Announcing the first three projects listed for disposal, Premier Colin Barnett said the State’s priority was to reduce debt and regain the triple-A credit rating.

“These are the first assets we will open up to the market. They have been identified as priority assets for sale,” Mr Barnett said.

“The three assets are expected to generate between $1billion and $2billion.”

The Premier said the sale process would balance risk and return and would assess how the assets could be managed, while providing benefits to stakeholders and the Western Australian community.

“These assets are better placed in the private sector. They are likely to be better run by the private sector,” he said.

Port Hedland’s Utah Point Bulk Handling facility is one of four berths owned by the Pilbara Ports Authority. It includes a shiploader, two stockyard product storage facilities and supporting infrastructure. In 2012 13, it earned $86.5million in revenue, with $44.1million in expenditure.

“The port assets are likely to be sold as a long-term lease,” Mr Barnett said.

Owned and operated by the Fremantle Port Authority, the Kwinana Bulk Terminal exports and imports bulk products including coal, iron ore, liquefied petroleum gas, cement clinker, gypsum, nut coke and slag. With a total throughput of 5.2 million tonnes, in 2012-13, total revenue was $61.6million, with total operating costs of $36million.

With 155 tenants, the Perth Market Authority operates Market City in Canning Vale, which undertakes the marketing and distribution of fresh fruits and vegetables in WA. A condition of the sale would be the ongoing operation of the markets.

Treasurer Mike Nahan said this was the start of an ordered asset sales program.

“We continue to review our balance sheet, and the port facilities and Market City are the most market-ready. Now we start the process of due diligence,” Dr Nahan said.

In coming weeks, details of the first round of land sales will also be announced.

The Premier will chair the process of assets and land sales. Detailed work will be undertaken by Treasury through an asset sales taskforce. Treasurer Mike Nahan, Finance Minister Dean Nalder and Lands Minister Terry Redman will play major roles in the ongoing process.

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