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Western Australia’s Buswell Resigns as Treasurer

Western Australia, a state that produces a third of the nation’s exports, lost the manager of its economy in a sex scandal involving alleged misuse of public funds, three weeks before its annual budget.

Treasurer Troy Buswell handed in his resignation today, Premier Colin Barnett told reporters in Perth. Barnett said he’ll take over the role for the budget period.

Buswell, 44, the state member for Vasse in the ruling center-right Liberal Party, yesterday acknowledged he had a affair with Adele Carles, a member of parliament representing the leftist Greens Party. The treasurer said he would repay taxpayer funds spent on a motel room during the affair and on ministerial cars that took him to meetings with Carles.

“While I consider the relationship between Troy and Ms. Carles a personal matter, Troy’s actions in relation to the use of his government entitlements in this matter is unacceptable,” Barnett said in a separate statement.

Buswell lost leadership of the Liberals in August 2008, one day before the state election was called, after he acknowledged he sniffed a female staffer’s chair in Parliament House. Barnett won the subsequent election, defeating the Labor Party government that had been in power since February 2001. Buswell was appointed treasurer.

Western Australia, about four times the size of France, produces 19 percent of the world’s iron ore and 7 percent of its liquefied natural gas, according to government figures. The Chamber of Commerce & Industry said April 19 that the state’s economy may expand 3 percent in the year to June 30 and by 6.25 percent in the 2012-13 financial year.

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