Raising the BARR – Week ending 10th March

Raising the Barr

We Are All Paying for Privatisation

I have made no secret of my views on privatisation.  I hate it!

Government businesses, that often provide a monopoly service, should not be sold off so that the private sector can make all of the profit, instead of our own NSW Budget benefitting from the profit.  And what is more disheartening is that the new owners are often off-shore investors, now drinking champagne with money from our pockets.

Let’s consider the privatisation of our electricity providers, as one example of how “selling it off” ultimately hurts each of our households.

In 2015, the NSW Government sold off the majority share of Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy.  As a result, each of our power bills now carries a dirty little profit margin – $100 per household for Ausgrid customers and $200 per household for Endeavour customers.  This is on top of the general 40% increase in electricity.

For the sake of comparison, if we look at the one electricity asset that the State did not sell, Essential Energy, only $10 per household can be interpreted as a profit margin. Importantly, even at just $10, at least that profit comes back to the State Budget.

And here is the part of the electricity story that seems to get lost in the wash.  The National Party wouldn’t let the Liberals sell Essential Energy, because they knew that it would drive up prices, and Essential Energy provides electricity to most customers in the regions across NSW.  But they happily threw everyone else to the wolves!

Yes, it is hard to get your head around the “logic” here.  At the same time the Nationals trotted out lines saying that electricity prices wouldn’t go up, for customers in the sold-off areas of the State, they were also saying that privatisation would send prices up in other parts of the State.  A simple, complete, illogical, contradictory lie was being told by the National’s MP’s.

In Electorates like Cessnock and Upper Hunter, some households are Ausgrid customers (paying $100 a year more for the sake of private profits) and some are Essential Energy customers (paying just $10 more per year).

The National Party MP’s made conscious decisions about who they would protect from privatisation and obvious bill increases, and who they would sacrifice.  At the upcoming election, if you are an Ausgrid customer, it would be fair to ask the National Party Candidates – “where’s my $90?”

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For enquiries regarding the State Government or its departments, or to put you in contact with someone who can help, please contact my office.  My office can be contacted by phoning 4991-1466, by email to cessnock@parliament.nsw.gov.au or call into 118 Vincent Street (PO Box 242), Cessnock 2325.


You can also follow me on my Facebook page “www.facebook.com/claytonbarrmp”, go to Twitter and search @claytonbarrmp, follow me on Instagram at “claytonbarrmp“ or check out my website at www.claytonbarr.com.au