Labor to fight for lower price guarantee and workers’ protection under privatisation

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NSW Labor is committed to fighting the passage of the electricity legislation when it is presented to the Upper House of Parliament today – and to securing a strong guarantee of lower power prices for NSW consumers and protections for workers in the electricity industry.

The NSW Opposition will move amendments to protect consumers by strengthening the proposed price guarantee and protect workers by including guaranteed employment with any private network operator for five years and associated protection of working conditions.

The Opposition amendments will also promote greater transparency in the transaction process and protection of the public interest.

Shadow Minister for Energy Adam Searle noted the Baird Liberal Government’s legislation to privatise our state’s electricity network was missing key details promised ahead of the election.

“Mike Baird promised to reveal details of how electricity privatisation will actually go ahead, but the legislation heading to the upper house today fails to disclose important aspects of the transactions, including how they will actually be structured and governed,” Mr Searle said.

“The Government has failed to make the case that its proposal is economically sound, or that it adequately protects the public interest.

“The fact that there has been no modelling about the impact of electricity privatisation on the State Budget is negligent and disturbing.

“The legislation is due to be debated in the upper house immediately after the publishing of the Legislative Council select committee report. By doing this, the Government is treating the inquiry process as if it were a mere formality.

“In fairness, Members of Parliament should be given some time to read and digest the report and the evidence it is based on, as well as time to reflect on the complex Bills.

“Debate on the legislation is proceeding, despite key questions remaining unanswered.

“As it stands, the 1 per cent discount promised by Mike Baird is nowhere to be found in the legislation – nor are the worker protections he promised. These omissions are troubling.

“There is nothing in the Government’s proposed legislation that requires savings from greater efficiency to be passed on to consumers.

“Instead, Mike Baird is mounting a taxpayer-funded legal appeal to block lower power prices.

“Mike Baird is opposing price cuts for families and businesses in NSW. Labor will be fighting for strong price guarantees to be included in this legislation. 

“Labor will move amendments to ensure protections for workers and guarantee lower power prices for households and businesses.”