The following Brief Ministerial Statement was read in to Parliament on Wednesday by Treasurer and Minister for Energy, Hon Ben Wyatt.
It’s great that Ministers are taking time to publicly recognise all those who help out when disaster strikes and particularly good that the Treasurer understands the many different agencies involved.
The AVBFB thanks to Minister Wyatt and of course, our incredibly hard-working bush fire brigade volunteers who work shoulder to shoulder with many other services, both paid and volunteer – when things turn bad.
ELECTRICITY INFRASTRUCTURE— THUNDERSTORM DAMAGE — GOLDFIELDS
Statement by Minister for Energy MR B.S. WYATT (Victoria Park — Minister for Energy):
On Saturday, 18 November, the goldfields was battered by severe thunderstorms. Large hail and winds in excess of 100 kilometres an hour caused extensive damage throughout the region. The storm uprooted large trees, many of which brought down powerlines and damaged key network infrastructure. Around 16 000 homes were left without power. Immediately following the storm, emergency response efforts were focused on critical infrastructure repairs. Western Power sent eight additional emergency crews and specialist teams to assist State Emergency Services and the City of Kalgoorlie–Boulder.
By Sunday morning, Kalgoorlie Health Campus and parts of the Kalgoorlie CBD had power restored, facilitating access to automatic teller machines and some petrol stations so residents could obtain fuel for their personal generators. Western Power also deployed four generators to facilitate power restoration to other key infrastructure. Two were connected to nursing homes, one was connected to a supermarket and the other to a school to enable exams to take place.
As at eight o’clock this morning, power had been restored to just under 15 800 homes and businesses across the region that were affected by the weekend storm. Unfortunately, the widespread nature of damage caused by the storm means that some individual homes will require bespoke repairs to their private connection or service line. In these cases, customers may remain without power for a couple more days.
WA Electrical Inspectors has proactively sent three inspectors to assess the work done to private homes and businesses to make sure their connections are ready and safe for network reconnection and to avoid delays in restoration. Western Power ground crews have been operating since the emergency struck on Saturday, with most of them working 16-hour shifts in hot conditions. Ensuring their safety and the safety of the public before power is turned back on remains a priority.
I thank all those involved in the emergency response for their tireless efforts to ensure the public’s safety and restore power to this important region. In particular, I acknowledge the amazing efforts of the City of Kalgoorlie–Boulder, the Shire of Coolgardie, State Emergency Services, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, the Water Corporation, Western Power, the volunteer bush fire brigade and large industries in the area that have offered their services and equipment to repair efforts.
I also thank the businesses and communities impacted by this horrible storm that have rallied together in the face of an overwhelming challenge and shown great patience, understanding and support to emergency response efforts.