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Greiner Interview Contains a Big Truth

November 7, 2011

Buried in a “Lunch with Nick Greiner” article in Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald is a major confession, a big chunk of truth.

The former NSW Premier has been appointed to chair Infrastructure NSW.

In the interview he said that without asset sales, the O’Farrell Government will not be able to make an appreciable difference on infrastructure. Or to use his precise words, “The only thing that I’m aware of that’s available that will move the needle significantly towards helping Barry become the infrastructure premier … is significant asset sales.”

This sums up the work that has been going within the O’Farrell Government since March.

Since its establishment Infrastructure NSW has interrogated all the funding mechanisms, all the options for private-public partnerships, all the old-fashioned hollow logs. And – what do you know – it seems there are no magic puddings. No buried cash reserves the old government had not mobilised. No easy PPPs that the Labor Government was too stupid to think of. As one bureaucrat put it: whatever we looked at (for example, for building the M4 extension) all funding options had already been explored.

Hence the inevitability of the government next year resolving to privatise electricity poles and wires.

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