Reject NSW power sell-off!

February 13, 2015

"The people of NSW should reject the Baird government's plan to sell off the state's power industry, just as Queensland voters did," Susan Price, Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Summer Hill in the March 28 NSW elections, said.

"The massive rejection of Premier Campbell Newman and his Liberal-National Party (LNP) government in the Queensland state election on January 31 has been sheeted home by most commentators to the LNP's disastrous plan to privatise the state's publicly owned electricity industry.

"It seems that mainstream party politicians never learn from past mistakes. Newman arrogantly ignored the central lesson of the previous Queensland election in 2012, when the Labor government was dumped and reduced to a rump of seven MPs, primarily because it had sold off the state's freight rail, ports, roads and forests.

"The NSW Liberal National Party government has pledged to sell off NSW power assets, primarily the 'poles and wires', for an alleged price of $20 billion, if it is re-elected. The NSW poll has been described as a 'referendum' on power privatisation.

"Up to now, the Mike Baird government has been sailing along, confident it will be re-elected, albeit with a reduced majority, facing an ALP opposition attempting to recover from its discredited past in office and with few positive policies.

"Now, the Queensland result has hit Australian politics like a bombshell. No government is safe.

"The Abbott federal government is in crisis. The Northern Territory Liberal-Country Party regime is a disunited shambles.

"The Socialist Alliance welcomes Baird's challenge to make the NSW election, in effect, a referendum on power privatisation. We will do our utmost to campaign against the sell-off of the people's assets to benefit only the rich and wealthy corporations.

"And what is the money received for this massive theft of public assets being spent on?

"A large amount of it is supposed to go toward funding private road and rail projects, primarily Baird's monstrous white elephant, the WestConnex tollway.

"This exposes Baird's lame argument that the difference between the Queensland and NSW government plans is that the Newman government was proposing to use the funds from the sale of the power industry mainly to pay off state debt, while NSW is planning to use most of the funds to build 'infrastructure'.

"In both cases, a Liberal National Party state government was pledging to privatise essential, profitable public assets, eliminating future dividends of billions of dollars available to fund schools, hospitals and other services, to benefit their super-rich mates.

"Whether the funds are spent on so-called debt repayment, or on a useless and environmentally unsound private tollway, which will merely create more traffic instead of expanding public railways, is beside the point.

"The NSW power industry must not be sold off — it must remain in public ownership. And control of the facilities should be placed in the hands of its workers and the community," Price concluded.

Media release date: 
Friday, February 13, 2015
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