25 October 2015 - Shadow Minister for Essential Services, Nicole Manison, said that it is understood the shareholding minister for PowerWater Corporation, David Tollner, is considering a submission to privatise part of Systems Control within PowerWater.
“Systems Control is vital to managing electricity supply and the privatisation of this asset could threaten coordination of response times to major blackouts – especially if ownership is transferred to external interest,” said Ms Manison.
“It’s a simple one for the CLP Government to address – if it’s not happening then David Tollner should come out and simply rule it out – end of story.
“While he’s at it, he should also rule out the future sale of any part of PowerWater, Territory Generation and Jacarna Energy.
“Territorians know that the CLP can’t be trusted not to sell off the assets of Territorians – and that’s why David Tollner must today rule out the privatisation of Systems Control.
“Territorians deserve to be kept in the loop when it comes to the sale of their assets. The reality is that this CLP Government is addicted to selling our private assets.
“That's why we are calling on David Tollner to rule out both the privatisation of part of systems control and the future sale of the PowerWater Corporation and its associated entities.”
Media Release: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794
Shadow Minister for Essential Services, Nicole Manison, today called on the CLP to explain how much the structural separation of PowerWater into three corporations is costing Territorians.
“Massive CLP hikes to power, water and sewerage tariffs have Territorians are struggling to pay their bills,” Ms Manison said.
“Territorians have suffered a third year of tariff hikes that hit household and businesses with a 30 percent power price hike, 40 percent water cost hike and 25 percent increase to sewerage charges.
“Before the latest 5 percent price hike in January this year, the CLP’s power and water tariff increases had ripped around an extra $151 million from the pockets of Territorians.
“Adam Giles and the CLP Government split PowerWater Corporation into three separate entities last year. A practice undertaken to prepare electricity utilities for privatisation.
“The split was carried out without any cost benefit analysis to support the separation.
“How much did the structural separation of PowerWater Corporation cost Territorians taxpayers?
“Industry insiders are telling us the structural separation costs are already at $10 million and rising. The CLP Government could say what has been spent to date, why won’t they?”
Media contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667
Territorians being hit with power bills this quarter are beginning to feel the full effect of the CLP’s power price hikes, Shadow Minister for Essential Services Nicole Manison said today.
Ms Manison said the CLP’s staggered price hikes are now fully implemented with the third year of tariff hikes amounting to a 30% increase to power, 40% increase to water and 25% increase to sewerage charges.
“Territorians are starting to receive their bills with another 5% price hike – and are feeling the pain of the successive revenue grab from the CLP Government,” Ms Manison said.
“The power, water and sewerage price hikes are hurting Territory families and Territory businesses.
“Before the latest 5% increase hit, the CLP’s increases had ripped an extra $151 million from the pockets of Territorians, with power tariff revenue directly raising $115M.
“This is $151 million taken from family budgets and does not account for the flow-on effects to goods and services where businesses passed on the tariff increases.
“Territory families are struggling under these massive power, water and sewerage hikes and businesses are doing it tough.
“Every day we hear from Territorians struggling to pay their bills and considering packing up and leaving the Territory.”
Ms Manison said the CLP was elected on a promise to reduce the cost of living – yet they did exactly the opposite, putting profits before people.
“Territorians are rightly concerned that the CLP has increased tariffs to fatten PowerWater profits to ready it for sale, and privatisation will lead to more price hikes, job cuts and reduced reliability.”
Leader of the Opposition, Delia Lawrie, today again called on Chief Minister Adam Giles to give Territorians a say on their public asset privatisation plans.
“Adam Giles and the CLP Government are hell-bent on selling the Territory’s public assets for a quick cash grab despite the negative effects it will have on Territorians,” Ms Lawrie said.
“TIO is in Adam Giles’ sights and if sold would leave Territorians, especially those in flood and cyclone-prone areas, vulnerable without the affordable and timely insurance coverage with TIO.
“The long term lease of Darwin Port by a private operator will lead to increases in cost of living for Territorians who would suffer the impact of rising port prices - with livestock, resources, cars and household goods at greatest risk of commercial rate imposts.
“The sale of any utilities assets under PowerWater Corporation, as shown in other jurisdictions, will lead to increased tariffs and reduced reliability.”
Ms Lawrie said that jobs and employment conditions of Territorians would be under threat in the event of privatisation.
“Once a public asset is sold all control is out of Territorians hands,” Ms Lawrie said.
“There is no way of guaranteeing that a new private owner of a Territory asset will preserve the employment conditions that were previously agreed to under public ownership.
“We’ve already seen employees of Darwin Bus Service stripped of entitlements by the private owners only months after the CLP Government sold the service.”
Ms Lawrie said the CLP Government needs to give Territorians a say in what should happen to their assets.
“Public assets belong to Territorians not to the CLP Government,” Ms Lawrie said.
“Territory Labor has repeatedly called on Adam Giles to take his privatisation plans a referendum or to the next General Election to give Territorians a say on their public assets.”
Shadow Minister for Essential Services, Nicole Manison, said today’s estimates hearing revealed that PowerWater Corporation, Jacana Energy and Territory Generation were not ready for their split in July.
“Today’s estimates made it clear that the CLP Government was so hell bent on splitting the Territory’s utilities, that they neglected to make the necessary preparations,” Ms Manison said.
“The CLP Government was unable to provide any financial evidence or cost benefit analysis last May to justify the split.
“Today, under scrutiny from the Opposition and Independent members it was clear that Territory Generation and Jacana Energy are flying blind.
“They were unable to answer many questions about their financial operations as they simply don’t have this critical data and information.”
Ms Manison said that despite Territory families struggling under the high cost of living pressures, the CLP Government is putting profits before people by increasing power and water tariffs.
“It was revealed today that an average Territory family of two adults and two children will need around $8,000 a year to cover their power and water bills.
“PowerWater Corporation made a profit of $260 million last financial year and the CLP Government is putting profits before people.
“Power and water are essential services. Not a way for the CLP Government to take money out of Territorians pockets.”