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Politics cannot be allowed to scuttle NSW electricity reform :AIG

17 June, 2008

Reports in the weekend press that the electricity privatisation legislation may now not precede through Parliament are of deep concern and failure to act will not be in the best interests of the State," Australian Industry Group NSW Director Mark Goodsell has said.

The NSW Branch Council of the Ai Group, called last week for all concerned to cooperate fully and to pass the electricity privatisation legislation for the good of the community, business and consumers.

 "It is vital that the ground is cleared for investments to be made to secure future electricity supply," Goodsell said.

"If retained in state ownership, NSW needs $15 Billion dollars of new investment in power capacity to meet projected electricity demand according to the Owen Inquiry.  However, there is no provision for the Government to fund the $15 Billion necessary to upgrade base-load power to meet the future needs of the community and business.

"To put this in perspective, $15 billion is more than the total NSW public infrastructure spend next year and a quarter of the spend over the next four years. Those who oppose privatisation haven't said how the Government would fund building power stations if it retained ownership.

"The State Opposition has expressed support for privatisation, and while it has set out conditions for the reform it is now time to move beyond politics and pass the legislation in the interests of the State," Goodsell said.

Ai Group Chief Executive, Heather Ridout has said: "If this matter is not settled soon, time and events will overtake us and it will be too late to avoid major dysfunctionality in our electricity supply down the track.

"As well, the imminent introduction of emissions trading and the implications this has for electricity generation and pricing makes further hand-wringing on this issue a folly," Ridout said.

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