MEMBER for Eden-Monaro Peter Hendy has ruled out the privatisation of Snowy Hydro, despite it being named in the Commission of Audit as an asset that should be sold off immediately.
Privatisation has also been ruled by NSW Treasurer Andrew Constance, whose government is the primary stakeholder.
Snowy Hydro owns and operates a large system of dams, tunnels and power generation plants and has been valued at $5.7billion.
The Federal Government owns a 13 per cent stake, the rest is owned by the NSW (58 per cent) and Victorian (29 per cent) state governments.
Last week the Commission of Audit nominated several assets the Federal Government owns outright or has a large stake in that should be sold in the short, medium and long term.
Snowy Hydro was placed in the short term category.
Dr Hendy has previously ruled out the privatisation of this asset, stating “The Snowy Hydro scheme has a special place in the hearts of Australians”.
“It is not a ‘natural fit’ for Snowy Hydro to be placed on any privatisation list.” (BDN 17/1)
Dr Hendy has not changed his position despite the Commission of Audit report.
“My position against Snowy Hydro being privatised remains unchanged,” Dr Hendy said.
“This Commission of Audit report does not represent the Government’s policy.
“I have assurances at senior levels of government Snowy Hydro will not be privatised.”
NSW Treasurer Andrew Constance also said the NSW Government had “no plans” to sell its stake in Snowy Hydro.
However, other assets owned by the State Government are currently under review, including the “poles and wires” of the NSW electricity network.
“There are no plans at this point, however these assets are part of a discussion into the infrastructure needs of NSW and how we need to shift the dial in transforming the state,” Mr Constance said.
“Clearly part of that discussion is the how we raise capital.
“In terms of poles and wires, nothing is settled at this point.
“To undertake the transformation of NSW roads, schools and hospitals we have no capacity to borrow and no-one wants to see their taxes raised.
“Recycling capital is also a key part of the discussion.
“The NSW Government has achieved good financial results with recycling capital through its assets, most recently with the Port of Newcastle.
“It’s an asset that is still in public hands, but the 99-year lease has raised $1.7billion.
“In our region leases on Port Kembla and Port Botany have raised money for infrastructure that has paid for upgrades to the Princes Hwy.”