Power plan worries mayor

BOMBALA mayor Bob Stewart wants to see Bombala’s share of the money raised from any privatisation of the state’s electricity distribution assets put back into the district’s roads.

Cr Stewart believes Bombala will receive only minimal funding from any privatisation but is hopeful that if money comes its way it can be spent on the region’s roads.

“If they do privatise it I personally don’t think we will get much in our own community,” Cr Stewart said.

“I think the coastal communities and the cities will get most of the resources. 

“If we did see any money we need to spend it on heavy haulage rural areas.

“Our situation is that 660-750 tonne of prime wood travels along our rural roads.

“At this stage it is near impossible for us to support those roads,” he said.

Cr Stewart fears that there will be a loss of services to the region if the Baird government privatises the state’s electricity.

... poles apart, says MP  

MEMBER for Monaro, John Barilaro, said he maintained his strident opposition to the future privatisation of the State’s electricity distribution assets when the NSW Liberals and Nationals met to discuss the matter last week.

Mr Barilaro said he was pleased with the hard line he took which resulted in a policy compromise that will benefit his community.

“I was deeply concerned that there was potential for job losses, lowering of service standards and increases in prices,” Mr Barilaro said.

“I also feared that the revenue for any sale would be swallowed up by big projects in Sydney, leaving my community without a look in.”

He said the compromise between the NSW government coalition partners would see the lease of the metropolitan distribution assets with a series of tight conditions and the retention in public hands of Essential Energy, which services regional NSW.

“The compromise will ensure that the Monaro will benefit from a $6 billion package for regional NSW that includes a $1 billion Regional Roads Fund, a $1 billion Regional Water Fund and a state wide $2 billion Schools and Hospitals Building Fund.

“This once in a generation $6 billion investment will mean greater local investment for projects such as the Kings Highway and upgrades to local hospitals.

“Our local poles and wires network will remain in public hands which is a big win for the Monaro region and the metropolitan asset lease deal will have no local impact on our community.

“If we were to centralise Essential Energy better and have stronger management structure, something that is more efficient, then I think it will work,” he said.

“City people might be able to get a better price for their energy but for us rural folk you need to remember that we are often not economically viable for big companies and that is why we need to keep Essential Energy. 

“With a bit of strong management and good structure we can get some good dividends and put it back to improving resources in our local area.” 

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