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Electricity Privatisation

December 15, 2010

I’ve said it before (see below) and impose on your patience one more time : the people who blocked electricity privatization in NSW when I and Michael Egan, then State Treasurer, proposed it in 1997 bear a terrible burden. A clean-cut sale of retail and generation would have sunk $30 to $35 billion into the State’s budgets and its capital programs and delivered enormous benefit to workers and their families, the base of the Labor Party. But the party conference let them down badly, denying its own government the means to do even more than it was doing (a record $61 billion infrastructure program over 10 years among other things).

And the State Coalition is compromised by blocking Morris Iemma’s package.

I’ll leave Eric Roozendaal to explain where this compromise proposal leaves us. But nobody could say it rates comparison with the straight forward plan of 1997, blocked by political idiocy.

2 Comments
  1. December 15, 2010 5:55 pm

    Yep, Bernie Riordan, the $35 Billion Man.

    What a proud son of Labor he must be, what with denying the working class these proceeds to be spent on transport infrastructure, hospitals, schools, nursing homes, child care centres, national parks, galleries, theatres and sporting stadiums, green energy initiatives, etc, etc.

    How proud you must be Bernie that twice now you have flexed your muscle against democratically elected Labor Leaders on behalf of a cloistered cabal of union leaders and shop stewards – delivering the political spoils to the Tories.

    When will our party stop hiding behind the dishonest argument in favour of public sector management of non-essential services and infrastructure? Quite simply, the private sector has more innovation, more efficiency and lower costs. Our people dont want to own banks, airlines, ferries, power lines and generators, transport operators and telephone companies. They want their governments to spend their time and talents planning for infrastructure, defending the streets and the borders, regulating operators, setting policy guidelines, enforcing competition policy, shielding them from shonks, growing the economy, protecting the environment, focussing on only essential social service provision and planning for the future.

    They would rather have their superannuation fund investing in the means of production than their government. They want government to help them get to work safely and get home to play with their kids in the park. They want a public sector focussed on providing strong conditions for economic growth, safe conditions for workers, a clean environment for their children to grow up, a good education, decent health, child and aged care, they want integrated planning and infrastructure provision to match and they want jobs – real jobs, not those propped up by articicial and embarrassing industrial feather-bedding that means there is no sustainablity and no growth.

    Let’s stop telling lies about how some unions like the ETU, PSA, MUA, etc, are defending the jobs of their workers in public sector enterprise and start telling the truth that the only jobs they are interested in protecting are their own. It’s about time the labour movement got back on the job of working with Labor Governments to deliver real benefits to working Australians, ala the Hawke/Keating/Kelty era.

    How about running Trades Hall with more integrity and leave the preselections and policy to the experts. The power sale fiasco (circa 1997 and 2009) was a disgraceful episode of union thuggery and a crime against taxpayers and workers – compounded by the shameful ETU exercise of advocating a vote against Labor.

    Well done Bernie, you’re a real Labor hero!

  2. Edward James permalink
    December 25, 2010 7:49 pm

    G Day Bob. Telling the people who sweat blood and paid to put our essential services such as roads, hospitals, water supplies and power generation in place, as a break even proposition. That we needed to support electricity privatization in NSW was offensive back in 1997, and it certainly was not clear cut! Regulation of the Electricity Supply Act in March 1999 and at other times while the Liberal Coalition remained silent came up with the idea to shift insurance liability onto the customer for that part of the supply infrastructure in close proximity but no on private property. It was sly and the fact that John Robertson Minister for the Central Coast was well aware of the way customers have been stoodged and remains silent, speaks volumes about his personal values. Edward James.

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