The release of the NSW Auditor General’s report on the NSW electricity sector has revealed the ongoing growth in the massive dividends the people of New South Wales receive from the publicly owned electricity network businesses, according to the Electrical Trades Union.
The Auditor General’s report identified dividends from the four publicly-owned network businesses — Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy, Essential Energy and TransGrid — had grown to almost a billion dollars last year, before other revenue such as tax and interest paid to the NSW Government was taken into account.
“The NSW Auditor General’s report demonstrates that the publicly owned electricity networks remain an extremely valuable public asset that benefits the people of NSW and should not be privatised,” ETU NSW secretary Steve Butler said.
“In the past twelve months, income from the NSW electricity networks is likely to exceed $2.5 billion in total government revenue, once dividends, tax equivalents and government interest are taken into account.
“Rather than go into the p ockets of a potential foreign owner as profit, this money is currently flowing into government coffers to help fund public services such as our hospitals, schools and roads.
“This is a great outcome for the people of NSW, especially as independent polling has previously shown the public overwhelmingly do not want to see our electricity network sold off.”
Mr Butler said the Auditor General’s report highlighted the economic weakness of the NSW Treasurer’s support for privatisation.
“On one hand we have Treasurer Mike Baird, taking every opportunity to talk up privatising the NSW electricity network, while on the other hand he is using the financial windfall from these companies to claim the budget is back in the black,” Mr Butler said.
“It’s hypocrisy at its best.
“One thing is crystal-clear from the NSW Auditor General’s report, and that is the NSW electricity businesses continue to make a valuable contribution to the bottom line of the state.
“The quicker the O’Farrell Government understands the value of these assets and commits to public ownership and operation the better off NSW residents will be.”