The Board of Hydro Tasmania has put Peter Gutwein on notice that his dividend policy is not sustainable.
Shadow Treasurer David O’Byrne said that’s even before Peter Gutwein announced last week he’d prop up his budget with an additional $70 million raid on the Hydro.
“The Liberals broke a massive promise to Tasmanians by pushing the budget towards $1.4 billion in debt, with no pathway to recovery.
“The new ‘special dividend’ demand is a panicked move, that siphons money from government businesses and undermines their sustainability.
“Hydro Tasmania’s Board stated last year Peter Gutwein’s raids are forcing them into unsustainable debt.
“If the demands on the Hydro were unsustainable last year, what are they after the latest cash grab?”
Mr O’Byrne said Peter Gutwein is raiding Hydro Tasmania to cover up the true state of his broken budget.
“What he’s done is like using a new credit card to pay off an existing credit card. Everyone knows that doesn’t change your true financial position, but Peter Gutwein still thinks he can pull the wool over people’s eyes using this dodgy accounting trick.
“Without the latest ‘special dividend’, Peter Gutwein’s budget would be $60 million in the red. This isn’t good management, it’s a con job.
“Tasmanians would rightly ask why the Hydro has to literally pay the price for the Liberals’ poor budget management.
“And Tasmanians will demand to know whether Hydro will be able to meet its infrastructure needs.
“Power stations and dams across the state require expensive maintenance to keep them safe and in operational condition. Will reliable supply of energy and safety be sacrificed?
“Or will the Hydro be forced to cut more jobs? Where does that leave Tasmania’s renewable energy future?
“Peter Gutwein should keep his hands off the Hydro. He should instead come clean with Tasmanians about how he let the budget get so bad.”