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Costa's budget puts paid to privatisation assumptions

NSW Greens Media Release: 3 June 2008

Original media release from greens.org.au/media/releases

NSW Treasurer Michael Costa's budget to be delivered this afternoon proves that the electricity industry sell-off is unnecessary and bad for the economy, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.

Commenting on the pre-release announcement of a $58 billion spend on infrastructure, Dr Kaye said: "The Iemma government's budget is based on the sensible idea that borrowing for infrastructure is a healthy investment in the state's future.

"It is time for the same logic to be applied to the electricity industry

"Treasurer Costa has belatedly joined the big borrowers brigade, recognising that the state needs to invest in transport, health and education to secure the economic future of NSW.

"Exactly the same argument can be applied to the state's energy system.

"Borrowing for investment in new clean energy supply capacity would not only help the state cope with increasing pressure on greenhouse gas emissions.

"It would also earn a healthy return, which would pay off the debt.

"There would be no effect on the state's credit rating.

"If Treasurer Costa could see beyond his ideological commitment to privatisation, he would understand that maintaining public ownership of the electricity industry would help ease the debt burden.

"The generators and retailers currently put $1.1 billion to the state's budget each year.

"That's a very healthy return on assets that are probably worth less than $7 billion on the open market," Dr Kaye said.

For more information: John Kaye 0407 195 455