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NSW state Opposition announces intention to block electricty privatisation

Media release from Barry O'Farrell NSW State Leader of the Opposition

Thursday 28 August 2008

The NSW Liberal/Nationals will vote against the Iemma Labor Government’s proposed sale of the State electricity assets.

Morris Iemma’s proposed sell-off fails the public interest test.

Governments only get one opportunity to sell a public asset and, if they decide to sell, it’s essential that taxpayers get the best possible price. That’s not possible given the current uncertainty in the energy sector.

There is currently a lack of clarity and details about the Federal Government’s emissions trading scheme and the prevailing market conditions are not favourable.

Furthermore, the Iemma Labor Government has an appalling record of dealing with the private sector – it has failed the public in deals ranging from the Cross City Tunnel to the building of the new Bathurst Hospital.

Given their record of incompetence, Morris Iemma and Labor can’t be trusted to deliver a good result for taxpayers and consumers.

Mr Iemma’s campaign to sell-off power assets, despite promising in last year’s election not to do so, confirms the public can’t trust anything he says on power issues.

Until the Federal emissions trading scheme is operational, and specific compensation for carbon liabilities is in place, the value of State-owned electricity assets will be discounted and taxpayers will not get an adequate return from any sale.

Morris Iemma and Michael Costa have failed to get any legislative guarantees from the Rudd Government about emission trading and compensation issues.

Capital market uncertainty is further contributing to the Iemma Government’s lowering of expectations on sale price.

A decision to sell in the face of this uncertainty would be economically irresponsible.

The NSW Liberal/Nationals are determined to do what’s right for the people of NSW. We are determined to act in the community interest.

We reaffirm our support for continued private sector involvement in the energy sector when it is in the best interests of the community.

Unlike Labor at the last election, the NSW Liberal/Nationals will put our energy policy to the people before the next election.

The policy will take into account the economic conditions and the changing nature of the energy industry


Barry O'Farrell MP
NSW Liberal Leader
Shadow Minister for Western Sydney
Member for Ku-ring-gai
T: 02 9230 2270
F: 02 9221 8208

Comment: This media release doesn't unequivocally oppose privatisation, which is unfortunate, but, as it points out by announcing their intention to vote against privatisation in the NSW Legislative Council and the Legislative Assembly, Barry O'Farrell and the Liberal and National Party Opposition upheld the fundamental principles of democracy and accountability that most members of the NSW Labor Government were not prepared to. For having done so, BArry O'Farrell and the Opposition incurred the ferocious wrath of many in the NSW business community of a privatisation newsmedia in the ensuing weeks. These hysterical and unconscionable attacks paid almost no regard to the case put by O'Farrell in this media release, nor to case against Costa's privatisation legislation in the Legislative Council put by Greens and Opposition members. - JS, 12 Sep 08