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Business expresses its support for Treasurer Michael Cost

12 February, 2008

NSW’s largest business organisation NSW Business Chamber has expressed its support for NSW Treasurer Michael Costa in his bid to privatise NSW electricity.

“The Treasurer is doing the right thing for NSW– and business is backing Michael Costa 100%. Without privatisation, NSW runs the real risk of interruptions of electricity supply within six years” said Kevin MacDonald, CEO of NSW Business Chamber.

“NSW needs significant new investment in electricity to ensure continuity of supply going forward. Up to $15 billion in new investment is needed in electricity in NSW – and if the State Government continues to own electricity assets then that is up to $15 billion that cannot be invested in schools, roads, health and public transport.

“If this issue is defeated because of trade union opposition – it will be game, set and match for business confidence in this Government.

“Michael Costa is taking a longer term view of what is needed for NSW and now is not the time for political expediency.

“Defeat on this issue will mean the end of reform for this Government – and NSW cannot afford for Michael Costa to be defeated on this issue. 

“If privatisation is abandoned, the question will correctly be asked, “who is running NSW – the trade unions or the democratically elected Government?” 

“Business does not agree with Michael Costa on every issue, indeed we have major disagreements over state taxation and payroll tax, but we believe he is doing the right thing when it comes to electricity. He is showing courage and we applaud his principled commitment to ensuring continued and reliable supply of electricity in NSW. 

“The fact Michael Costa is willing to risk his job for making the right call for NSW is a testimony to his integrity.

“The time has also come for the NSW Opposition to provide complete bipartisan support for the privatisation of NSW’s generation capabilities. Barry O’Farrell made a principled decision by becoming the first political leader to argue for the privatisation of the retail arm of NSW electricity and he should now offer bipartisan support for privatisation of the generation capabilities.

NSW Business Chamber has over 30,000 members and is affiliated with over 110 chambers of commerce.

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