ETU Media Releases

ETU Media Releases

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Macquarie Generation sale doesn’t make economic sense

- Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Energy unions have criticized the NSW Government for pushing ahead with the sale of Macquarie Generation, NSW’s largest supplier of electricity, in what is the latest public asset to be sold off by the Liberal National Government.

Electrical Trades Union NSW secretary Steve Butler said that NSW Treasurer Mike Baird was carrying on as though he has lost the plot, with Macquarie Generation the latest in a long list of privatisations, including Newcastle Port, Port Botany, Port Kembla, the Sydney desalination plant, Sydney Ferries and many smaller asset sales.

“NSW is becoming a poorer state thanks to the long list of asset sales that NSW Treasurer Mike Baird continues to preside over,” Mr Butler said.

“He’s carrying as though he has lost the plot by selling off valuable income generating assets.

“Every single asset that the NSW Government has sold to date has had one thing in common: They generate much needed income for the Government. In the case of Macquarie Generation, the company provided a dividend to taxpayers of $124 million last year alone.

“Once these assets and income streams are sold to the private sector it generally results in higher charges for the general public, a loss of income for future governments and a smaller assets base to borrow against should the need arise.

“Quite simply, the sale of Macquarie Generation doesn’t make economic sense.

“The people of NSW do not want their assets flogged off at bargain basement prices to what are likely to be foreign investors from China, Singapore or Korea.

“The assets of Macquarie Generation are valued at $2.1 billion, but the company also has debts of almost $800 million, meaning NSW taxpayers will likely lose this essential piece of infrastructure for  no more than what they would receive in dividends over the next decade if it was kept in Government hands.

“This fire sale does not make economic sense, it does not make political sense and the only people to win will be the private investors who will seek to recover costs from electricity consumers.

“The ETU, with the help of cross bench MPs, were successful in securing the jobs and conditions of the existing 600 employees for a period of four years, which have been protected through legislation.”