Premier brushes off leadership talk at Autism West event


Autism sufferer and Autism West IT staff member Scott Sadler showed Mr Barnett computer coding and robotics this morning. Picture Jon Bassett.
Premier brushes off leadership talk at Autism West event
Autism sufferer and Autism West IT staff member Scott Sadler showed Mr Barnett computer coding and robotics this morning. Picture Jon Bassett.

COTTESLOE MLA and Premier Colin Barnett has poured cold water on a report senior Liberals are unhappy with him not sacking disgraced Transport Minister Dean Nalder last Friday.

“I have been leader of the Liberal Party for over eight years, and I’ve been leader or deputy leader in very election since 1993, so I’m just over leadership talk,” a terse Mr Barnett told the Western Suburbs Weekly after presenting a $19,850 LotteryWest grant to Mosman Park’s Autism West this morning.

“I’ve got a job to do as the Premier of this State, and that’s what I’m doing.”

Mr Nalder is on a week’s leave after he was linked to private polling that indicated Mr Barnett’s leadership would contribute to potential Liberal defeat at the March State Election.

Asked if not extinguishing disgruntlement would continue to undermine his Premiership, Mr Barnett said the disgruntled had been unnamed in the reports and he was “bored” with the talk.

However, he said disunity would be politically damaging but would not consider what he would say to unite his MPs until their party room meeting next week.

At Autism West the number of children, teenagers and young adults who are assisted and get social skills has grown from 25 to about 90 daily in the past two years, as awareness of autism grows.

Mr Barnett said about 70 per cent of the Government’s disability services budget went to not-for-profit groups, and the groups had other funding sources, such as LotteryWest and Education Department programs.

He said while there was always a case for greater funding as autism awareness grew, the group also had contributions from families and its own fundraising.

Autism West executive Alison Davis said the grant would provide accommodation for autism sufferers’ families at a symposium covering issues, including behaviour, sexuality and diagnosis of autism, at the facility later this year.