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Major parties do snow job on Snowy.

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Peter Andren MP - Independent Member for Calare


18 May 2006

Major parties do snow job on Snowy

The Liberal, National and Labor parties all stand accused of abject hypocrisy over the sale of the Snowy Hydro scheme, according to Member for Calare Peter Andren.

“The latest attempt at a political snow job on the Snowy sell-off comes from Nationals Member for Orange Russell Turner who bewails the failure of Labor Premier Morris Iemma to halt the sale of Snowy Hydro until after a NSW parliamentary inquiry is completed,” Mr Andren said.

“If Mr Turner is so concerned about the sale he should call on his federal colleagues to call off their support for the sale of the Commonwealth share.

“On March 30 I and fellow independents Tony Windsor and Bob Katter were the only federal MPs to vote against the sale when the motion to do so was rushed through parliament.

“Riverina National MP Kay Hull abstained from the vote after emotionally criticising the sale while all other National, Liberal and Labor MPs supported the privatisation of Snowy Hydro.

“While the state of NSW holds the largest share of Snowy Hydro, at 58%, the federal Liberal/National Coalition and Labor parties could have rejected the sale of the national shareholding of 13%, as could Steve Bracks reject selling his state’s 29% shareholding.

“A significant groundswell of grassroots opposition against this sell-off is building, with the Prime Minister’s confidante Senator Bill Heffernan also reported today to be strongly criticising the sale.

“With the NSW Labor Government anxious to flog off this immensely important national infrastructure in order to cover its financial woes, federal Labor has displayed its usual spinelessness by agreeing to this transfer of crucial water resources, hydro power and environmental management into the hands of private owners.

“It is a shameful act that deserves to damage all three major parties dearly at approaching state and federal elections.

“The NSW Liberals and Nationals know full well that an inquiry with a reporting date of August and September was never going to have any impact on a sale the Premier wants over by July. After all the Premier announced the intended sale last December.

“A two month inquiry reporting by late June to coincide with the issuing of a prospectus for the NSW shares could have helped turn this dreadful decision around.

“All three major parties are in cahoots on the Snowy sell-off, and the public knows it,” Mr Andren said.

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