State electricity asset sell-off ‘lunacy’ says Ron Hoenig

At the energy forum at Club Bega on Wednesday are (from left) NSW Shadow Minister for Energy and Ports Ron Hoenig, Elisabeth Blackmore, Labor Party candidate for Bega Leanne Atkinson and Enid Humphries.

At the energy forum at Club Bega on Wednesday are (from left) NSW Shadow Minister for Energy and Ports Ron Hoenig, Elisabeth Blackmore, Labor Party candidate for Bega Leanne Atkinson and Enid Humphries.

IT WOULD be lunacy to sell the poles and wires, the Shadow Minister for Energy and Ports, Ron Hoenig, said at an energy forum held at Club Bega on Wednesday.

Mr Hoenig was in the Valley to support the Labor Party candidate for Bega, Leanne Atkinson.

The forum was part of her listening tour to find out the issues facing people in the electorate.

Mr Hoenig was welcomed to the Bega Valley Shire by Mayor Bill Taylor, who referred to Mr Hoenig's 30 years as Mayor of Botany Bay and his knowledge of the Valley when he came here as a public defender.

Mr Hoenig was very critical of the NSW Government's announcement that it would sell off its electricity assets.  

“The NSW Government does not get enough revenue to fund hospitals and education, but to sell off its electricity assets which bring in two billion dollars revenue annually just does not make business sense,” Mr Hoenig said.

“Demand for electricity has reduced, but this has been because consumers are being far more conscious of their use of electricity.

“The real game-changer on the energy scene would be if an economically sound system for storing solar power was invented so that people could then get off the grid.”

Mr Hoenig depressed those at the forum even more when he said gas prices would double or triple over the next few years as more gas will be exported and the price domestically would climb to that of the world market.

Mr Hoenig was told at the meeting that the South East Regional Hospital being built in Bega would no longer be utilising a geothermal energy storage system and he said he would look into the circumstances of this change when he returned to Sydney.

During his visit Mr Hoenig visited Eden and looked at the port facilities, talked with Bega Valley Shire councillors and staff and visited Bermagui.

He also attended a dinner at Littleton Cafe on Wednesday night.

He told everyone how he knew the area because of this work as a public defender and he was actually staying in Tathra when the news broke that defeated premier Kristina Keneally would be leaving Parliament.

He said, as he was in Tathra, there was no way he knew of Ms Keneally's resignation as his mobile phone didn't work there.

He said the former NSW Labor Government deserved to be thrown out, as did the former Labor Federal Government as “it couldn't govern itself, let alone the country”.

“However, the present NSW Government is no better than the old Labor one and the people of NSW deserve more,” Mr Hoenig said.

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