ETU Media Releases

ETU Media Releases

For media enquiries please contact George Houssos on 0418 655 682 or Tim Vollmer on 0404 273 313

Taxpayers lose out in O’Farrell Government power station sell-off

- Friday, July 26, 2013

Energy sector unions have attacked the O’Farrell Government over today’s announcement that Mt Piper and Wallerawang power stations will be sold to Chinese-owned EnergyAustralia for $160 million, saying taxpayers have been short-changed by the deal.

The unions said Delta Electricity, the state-owned business selling the power stations, last year delivered a $52 million didivend to the state government and had a book value of $1.75 billion, while their power stations were valued at $745 million.

The Electrical Trades Union and United Services Union, who are leading a community campaign against the privatisation of the state’s electricity network, said the O’Farrell Government’s “fire sale” had now sold four power stations in just four weeks, yet delivered only $85 million for taxpayers after losses.

“What we have seen today is the O’Farrell Government sell the Mt Piper and Wallerawang power stations for a pittance, and all without putting the sale out to competitive tender,” Electrical Trades Union NSW secretary Steve Butler said.

“Taxpayers deserve to know that they’ve got the best deal possible, and that clearly isn’t the case with this ongoing power station sell off by the O’Farrell Government.

“Last year NSW taxpayers received $52 million from Delta Electricity — profits that came from power generation — yet the community has now lost this ongoing revenue source for a measly $160 million.

“It comes just four weeks after the sale of Eraring Energy, where a government-owned company that delivered almost $140 million in profits last year alone was sold off for a loss of $75 million.”

United Services Union general secretary Graeme Kelly said it was outrageous that public infrastructure would be sold without ensuring the best price was achieved for taxpayers.

“Here we have a Chinese-owned company getting a sweetheart deal from the NSW Government that delivers a profitable business at a bargain price with no open tender,” Mr Kelly said.

“Clearly it fails the most basic obligation of a government to achieves the best outcome for taxpayers.

“Our unions don’t believe that any essential public infrastructure should be sold off, but if it must occur, like anyone else in the community we’d expect to see a process where multiple buyers bid against each other, delivering the top price for taxpayers.

“This is nothing more than a fire sale that does not represent value for the people of NSW.”