A few weeks ago we learned via a St Vincent de Paul report that Tamworth has the most expensive electricity prices in the State paying around 16 per cent more than people elsewhere. Here is a precis of the demise of our electricity industry, jobs and affordable electricity bills as well as questions about the whereabouts of a promised $6 billion bounty for regional NSW infrastructure.
On Tuesday 10/06/2014 former Premier Mike Baird issued a media release “Rebuilding NSW: Keeping the lid on household costs”. This media release was distributed by rural Nationals MP’s around the State who caved in to their metropolitan masters and voted in favour of privatisation and continued to do so with many valuable pieces of State assets.
In the same media release Baird said “I am committed to do all I can to keep downward pressure on electricity prices.” Selling monopoly revenue producing assets is “the best thing we can do to keep downward pressure on power prices for NSW households and businesses”. “The electricity network businesses will remain tightly regulated. Prices will be subject to regulation by the Australian Energy Regulator…”.
As for Essential Energy, “Employees and regional communities can be confident about their future”. More than two thousand Essential Energy employees have lost their jobs throughout rural NSW.
Another media release issued jointly on the same day by former Premier Baird and his former Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner was titled “Rebuilding NSW: Massive investment for Regional NSW”. Lauding the proposed privatisation the men claimed that they were announcing “a once-in-a-generation $6 billion investment in regional NSW to secure the future of communities across NSW”.
“The centrepiece of the package is a series of future funds to build and upgrade hospitals, schools, roads and water infrastructure throughout NSW”. Despite this impressive announcement the people of the Electorate of Tamworth might wonder where the proceeds of that $6 billion is particularly in light of the NSW Budget earlier this year. Did anyone notice TAFE was not mentioned?
After 8 years of this Government, the community still waits for funding for an upgrade of the Banksia acute mental health unit. As for roads, still nothing for the Grain Valley Road between Mullaley and Boggabri, Port Stephens Cutting at Ogunbil, Rangari Road between Manilla and Boggabri, Werris Creek Road between Tamworth and Werris Creek and Tamworth Regional Council initiated the planning of the upgrade to the NSW Government’s New England Highway/Goonoo Goonoo Road between Calala Lane and Jack Smyth Drive otherwise it was not happening. I am supportive of infrastructure builds in our rural towns and city but in Gunnedah the second overpass cost has blown out from $15.8 million to over $60 million during the 8 year period since it was first announced, has anyone asked the important question why?
Earlier this year the Berejiklian and Barilaro Government announced a further electricity price increasing decision by selling the State’s portion of the iconic Snowy-Hydro Scheme for $4.15 billion and according to Mr Barilaro “every cent of the full value of the Snowy deal would go to rural and regional NSW”, yeah sure, but new Sydney Stadiums are looking good.
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