NSW Labor will support the sale of the Snowy Hydro scheme to the Federal Government – only if there is a guarantee the scheme stays permanently in public hands and if every dollar from the billions raised is used in regional NSW.

NSW Labor leader Luke Foley announced the policy during a visit to Queanbeyan today – saying the State’s Liberal National Government has squandered billions of dollars in cost blowouts in their tunnel and road projects in Sydney – while starving the regions of funds. 

Mr. Foley committed a Government he’d lead in 2019 to ensuring that one hundred per cent of the funds raised will be used to improve regional infrastructure in areas such as:

•     Education

•     Health

•     Roads and Transport

•     Water Security and

•     Culture and Sport

He gave as an example the suburb of Googong, in Queanbeyan which is set to grow tenfold – from 2,000 residents to 20,000 in just over 15 years.

Yet the State Government sees no need for a primary school there.

Mr. Foley said that kind of neglect is repeated in every regional centre throughout NSW. 

The Coalition Government in Macquarie Street has ignored the needs of people outside Sydney for six years, convinced regional NSW could be fooled by a deluge of media releases.

Snowy Hydro Limited is currently owned by NSW (58%), Victoria (29%) and the Commonwealth (13%). Each shareholder has equal voting rights. Under NSW’s Snowy Hydro Corporatisation Act 1997, the NSW Government may sell its share to the Commonwealth without further approval from the NSW Parliament. This means that the sale could proceed and be concluded relatively soon.

Snowy Hydro’s value is estimated at $6 billion - $7 billion.

Industry estimates are that NSW’s share would be between $ 4 -5 Billion.

In last week’s Budget the Commonwealth proposed that it acquire complete ownership of Snowy Hydro Limited in order to progress its plan to invest in a pumped hydro energy scheme- to provide additional electricity generation capacity.

The hydro-electricity scheme in the Snowy Mountains defined Australian enterprise, innovation and ingenuity. It was the key to the post-war reconstruction program of the Chifley Labor Government; its construction linked forever with the development of modern regional Australia. 

NSW Labor will support the sale if:

•     NSW receives full market value from the Commonwealth

•     Snowy Hydro remains permanently in public hands

•     Proper environmental protection is secured and water entitlements are recognised

•     100 per cent of the proceeds are allocated to regional infrastructure.

Quotes Attributable to NSW Labor leader Luke Foley

The Liberals and Nationals who’ve been in Government in NSW for six years have disgracefully neglected people in the regions. They’ve become the forgotten people. We’ll reverse that situation.”

“A Foley Labor Government in 2019 will ensure that the billions of dollars that will flow from the nationalisation of Snowy Hydro will be put right back where it belongs – in local infrastructure for the people of regional NSW.’

“That means building hospitals, schools and repairing roads in the regions – and supplying the services that this Government provides for Sydney, but not outside the metropolitan area.”