PERROTTET REVEALS HOW HE MISLED NSW OVER WESTCONNEX – HE WILL DO THE SAME OVER SYDNEY WATER CLAIMS LABOR
– FRIDAY, 17 MARCH 2023
Dominic Perrottet has this morning shown how he misled the NSW public over his plans for WestConnex privatisation.
Ahead of the 2019 election campaign, Perrottet said repeatedly that there were “no plans” for the privatisation of the remaining share of WestConnex. He called Labor’s warnings “fake news” and said “the Government has no plans in this space.”
After the election, Perrottet privatised the rest of WestConnex.
Perrottet: We didn’t have a plan at that point in time
Challenged at the time about his backflip and the full sell-off of Westconnex, Perrottet dismissed his previous statements by saying: “Plans changed.”
Today he expanded – in a Sky News interview, Perrottet today claimed: “We didn’t have a plan at that point in time to sell… But it became very clear that that was the right approach to take in those economic times.”
This is identical language to what Perrottet has used in relation to Sydney Water. During this campaign he has also said: “I’ve always said you look at those circumstances in front of you…we don’t rule anything in or out.”
Perrottet: Privatisation a good thing when necessary
Perrottet said today: “[Privatisation…] it’s a good thing when it’s necessary.”
At the time Perrottet changed his plans and announced the scoping study into the remaining Westconnex sale (March 2020), NSW had $55bn in debt forecast for that year, and annual interest payments of $2.1 billion. Those were the “economic times” in which Perrottet thought the sale of Westconnex was necessary – as “the right approach to take”, as he said this morning.
Today, after four more years of the Liberals, NSW is now facing debt forecasts of $187.5bn (a 130% increase compared to the “economic times” Perrottet felt warranted breaking his promise on privatisation), and $7bn in interest payments.
The Liberals have since made over $50bn in unfunded spending commitments – which would bring debt to $237 billion and interest to $9.2bn by 2025-26.
Straight after the election, “economic times” are set to change once again under the Liberals, and Perrottet will turn to what he knows best – privatisation – because it will again be “necessary”.
And as the highest earning state-owned corporation still owned by the government, Sydney Water is next on the chopping block.
Sydney Water privatisation has already begun
Modelling released this month showed that if Matt Kean sells Sydney Water, household water bills could surge by $264 each year – or 59 per cent.
Government documents released this week also revealed that the process of the privatisation of Sydney Water has already begun, with a major water facility in Western Sydney outsourced.
Quotes attributable to Daniel Mookhey, NSW Shadow Treasurer:
“Now it’s out in the open. When Dominic Perrottet says he has ‘no plans’ to sell Sydney Water, it’s because he thinks he can change his plans at the drop of a hat.
“He has done this before with WestConnex. He will do it again with Sydney Water. He misled the NSW public and he will do so again.
“As soon as the election has passed, Perrottet’s plans will change again.
“After today’s comments, the only way to guarantee Sydney Water stays in public hands is to vote Labor on 25th March.”