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Baird declares election victory: appoints investment banks to run electricity sale

Jul 15, 2014

NSW Premier Mike Baird has arrogantly bet millions in taxpayers’ dollars that he will win the March 2015 State Election, locking in lucrative contracts with investment banks to carry out his proposed sale of the electricity poles and wires.

The Stop the Sell Off campaign said the move made a mockery of the Premier’s claims that he would seek a mandate from voters before pressing ahead with a sale of 49 per cent of the electricity network businesses: Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy, TransGrid and Essential Energy.

“Investment banks Deutsche Bank and UBS have quietly been awarded a multi-million dollar contract to advise the NSW government on the sale process for the electricity network,” Stop the Sell Off campaign director Adam Kerslake said.
“Mike Baird said he would take electricity network privatisation to an election, giving the people of NSW the chance to have their say, but by locking in lucrative contracts with the investment banks that will design and carry out the sale, it’s clear he has already declared victory.

“The Premier is treating the public with contempt by not only assuming that he will win next election, but that his controversial policy will be supported by the upper house.”

Mr Kerslake said there should be no taxpayer money spent on a sale process that has not been taken to the electorate, or the parliament.

“Last month Mike Baird said no sale would occur without a mandate, but just a few weeks later he is locking in lucrative contracts with merchant bankers to start the sale process,” he said.

“If he doesn’t win the election, or the upper house blocks the sale due to community opposition, then that will be millions of dollars from the public purse flushed down the drain.

“It’s no surprise investment bankers have been queuing at the Premier’s door, because they know the big end of town will be the only winners if the poles and wires are privatised.

“We are calling on the Premier to stop spending taxpayers money on privatising public assets before he has even given voters the opportunity to have their say.”