Concerns regarding State Government’s privatisation plans on local electricity services

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Shadow Minister for Regional infrastructure Mick Veitch visited local State MP Clayton Barr last week to discuss the impact of the State Government’s privatisation plans on local electricity services, and to outline Labor’s plan to invest in regional NSW without the sell-off.

The NSW electricity network made a $1.7 billion profit last year. If the Liberal/National Government is successful with their privatisation plans, those profits will disappear from the Government budget and go into the pockets of a private company

Mr Barr says the privatisation will be a terrible deal for the State.

“The Government is planning to sell an asset which made nearly $2 billion last year for only $20 billion. Whichever billionaire is lucky enough to buy it will make their money back in no time. Mike Baird used to be a merchant banker; surely he can spot a bad deal when he sees one!” Mr Barr said.

“If the network is privatised and run for profit, power prices will go up. They can only go up. Mike Baird knows this, he basically admitted it with his panicked appointment of Alan Fels as a price regulator,” he said.

“So we will be paying higher prices for electricity and have less money in the budget for hospitals and schools. Just when you thought the deal couldn’t get any worse, the money made from the sale will almost exclusively be spent on Sydney,” Mr Barr said.

By contrast, Labor has committed to spending $3 billion for infrastructure in rural and regional NSW, including more than $1 billion for roads. This includes Labor’s existing reservation of $810 million to the Hunter. All of this will be done without privatising the electricity network.

Shadow Minister Veitch said: “Labor’s plan is fair for the cities and the regions – with more than 30 per cent of new funding and more than half of the roads funding allocated outside Sydney.”