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Baird infrastructure promises far exceed power sale proceeds and will leave $1 billion budget black hole

Nov 25, 2014

Premier Mike Baird’s infrastructure promises are a cynical attempt to buy the March election, with promised spending already far exceeding the potential proceeds of his sale of the electricity poles and wires, according to the Stop the Sell Off campaign.

The Premier has also been accused of ignoring the annual $1 billion black hole that will be left in future state budgets, through the loss of dividends and tax payments following the privatisation.

Stop the Sell Off campaign director Adam Kerslake said much of Mr Baird promised infrastructure would never be built and was simply an exercise in pork barrelling the electorate.

“The Premier has already promised a second Sydney Harbour rail crossing, extensions to the WestConnex toll road and 30% or proceeds for regional NSW if his power sell off goes ahead — commitments that already far exceed the money a sale would generate,” he said.

“Now we have him promising even more projects — everything from stadiums to arts facilities — with money he simply won’t have.

“In Mike Baird’s fantasy world he is free to promise to spend money as many times as he’d like, but unfortunately for voters, in the real world he will only be able to use it once and that is even if the government actually delivers on its promises at all.

“Not only will much of this infrastructure never be built, the NSW Liberal National Government is still failing to explain how they will plug the $1 billion budget black hole from lost dividends and tax revenue that currently come from the publicly owned electricity network.”

Mr Kerslake accused the Premier of pledging big spending in electoral battlegrounds like Western Sydney, while ignoring the needs of regions less likely to decide the outcome of the March election.

“What we’re seeing is the Mike Baird promising new infrastructure in marginal electorates, so he can win the election, while places like the North Shore, southern Sydney, the Central Coast, Hunter and Wollongong get nothing,” he said.

“For voters in those areas, they need to understand that a vote for the Coalition is a vote for higher power prices, with no infrastructure payoff.

“The public has a choice in March: retain a reliable, quality, income-generating essential service, or sell the family farm for a one-off cash splash.”