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Government policy remains against sale of Snowy Hydro.



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Media Release

Mike Kelly MP

Federal Member for Eden-Monaro Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Support

Office of the Hon. Dr Mike Kelly AM MP Member for Eden-Monaro, Shop 16, City Link Plaza, Morisset Street, Queanbeyan NSW 2620

July 10, 2008 08-063

Government policy remains against sale of Snowy Hydro Mike Kelly has reiterated his election pledge and statements since becoming the Member for Eden-Monaro that he remains strongly opposed to the sale of Snowy Hydro.

“The Federal Government has no plans for selling off the Snowy Hydro Scheme,” Dr Kelly said. “Our policy remains the same as it was during the election campaign. We are totally opposed to a sell off of the Scheme.”

Dr Kelly said a newspaper report suggesting he had said the Government would revisit the question of privatisation was not correct.

A major issue on the future of the Scheme is whether it will be capable of generating electricity at all if the water capacity continues to fall, Dr Kelly said.

“The Scheme is currently running at 10 per cent of capacity in terms of water and if the level in Lake Eucumbene falls another eight metres then the ability of the Scheme to generate electricity ends,” he said.

“If able to continue generating, the question then is what role it plays in the market? Does it continue to be a hedge provider or simply become a provider of energy to the immediate region in a distributed energy market?”

Dr Kelly said that as a continuing hedge provider Snowy Hydro would need to grow in proportion to the overall National Energy Market.

“To do so it would have to have capital to establish gas fired turbines. To raise these funds it would need to either obtain contributions from the three government stakeholders, privatise or enter into an arrangement leasing the assets in order to raise capital through a share issue”, Dr Kelly said. “We have ruled out selling off the Scheme but I have made it very clear that the Federal Government is not in a position to discuss any other options until the NSW electricity privatisation issue is resolved.

“Since the election I’ve established the Snowy Community Advisory Group through which any discussion of the future of the Scheme will occur, thereby ensuring a community voice.

“My media release at the time stated: ‘The community will have a direct role in advising me and the Federal Minister for Water in a Rudd Labor Government and will play a key role in developing future policies around the Snowy’.

“I completely stand by this commitment and the Group has already had its first meeting.”

Media contact: Terry Bransdon 0488 499 166