Liberal voters not sold on NSW energy selloff

A majority of New South Wales voters and a quarter of Liberal Party supporters do not support the Baird Government’s plans to privatise the state’s energy assets, according to a poll by the ABC.

The national broadcaster collated 27,000 online responses and found 55 per cent of all voters were against the plan to lease half of the state’s electricity assets to the private sector for 99 years, as reported by Energy Business News.

While Labor voters were more opposed to the privatisation, Liberal voters did not overwhelmingly endorse the idea either. Three in 10 Liberal voters also thought the Government should raise taxes to pay for infrastructure.

A Fairfax poll found 30 per cent of Liberal voters were against the sell-off. The government’s plans include 100 per cent of Transgrid, which operates high voltage transmission lines across NSW, and about 50 per cent of Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy, which together provide power in Sydney and Sydney’s Greater West, Central Coast, Hunter Region and Newcastle, Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands and the Illawarra.

From this, the Government hopes to raise $20 billion to invest in infrastructure projects.

According to the Financial Review, the privatisation – if it goes ahead – will be highly competitive with second-tier retailers such as New Zealand’s Meridian Energy, set to challenge the dominance of Origin, AGL and EnergyAustralia.

These three largest players have around 90 per cent of the NSW retail market.