NSW Labor to oppose Berejiklian govt’s next round of privatisations

NSW Labor will oppose the Berejiklian Government’s next round of privatisations – which were floated on an overseas trade delegation by Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

NSW Shadow Treasurer, Walt Secord and NSW Shadow Minister for Natural Resources, Paul Scully today said NSW Labor will oppose the Berejiklian Government’s next wave of privatisations.

They were responding to News Limited reports that the Berejiklian Government was set to embark on another round of privatisations including the Forestry Corporation (formerly State Forests) and the remaining half of the Westconnex.

Earlier, the Transport Minister had flagged the privatisation of bus services and separately, there has been speculation about the sale of Service NSW.

Mr Secord and Mr Scully said rather than privatisations, the State Government could fund new projects – if they properly monitored the cost blow-out on current ones like the $1.5 billion on the Sydney Light Rail.

Mr Secord said: “The community’s view is clear. It has had enough of the Berejiklian Government’s privatisations. Since April 2011, they have sold more than $70 billion in public assets.”

“The Berejiklian Government has already sold electricity assets, ports, the desalination plant, the New South Wales Land and Property Information and part of the Westconnex. Enough is enough.”

Mr Scully said that he feared for job losses in rural and regional NSW, if the Forestry Corporation was sold.

“As we saw with the privatisation of electricity, these sell-offs result in job losses especially in rural and regional areas.”

Forestry Corporation of NSW is the largest manager of commercial native and plantation forests in NSW – with more than two million hectares of State forests. Forestry Corporation produces around 14 per cent of the timber produced in Australia annually. It has a number of offices in main centres including West Pennant Hills, Wauchope, Dubbo, Tumut, Bathurst, Coffs Harbour and Bateman’s Bay.

“Selling public assets is a short-sighted approach as it takes away a stable long-term revenue stream for NSW”, Mr Scully said.

“Over the eight years of the current government, Forestry Corporation has contributed $124 million in dividends to the NSW Budget which is a revenue stream that helps pay for essential services throughout the state.”

Mr Secord added the sale of the remaining Westconnex put Sydney on track to be one of the most heavily tolled cities in the world.

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