Stop the NSW Power Sell Off

The NSW Liberal government has made clear its intention to sell off the distribution and transmission networks (excluding Essential Energy) following the next election.

Professionals Australia has partnered with other electricity unions in the ‘Stop the Sell Off’ campaign. The campaign was started so that union members and the public can have a voice against the NSW government’s plans to privatise the networks.

Problems with privatisation

A recent report on privatisation released the McKell Institute found that;

  • Privatising NSW’s transmission and distribution assets is likely to drive up prices due to higher overheads (marketing, advertising, administration & executive administration) in comparable privatised businesses;
  • The physical span of different networks is the single largest factor behind variations in both operational and capital expenditure;
  • NSW’s publicly owned networks outperforms privately owned peers on operating expenses;
  • Publicly owned networks appear more willing to engage in long-term planning when undertaking capital expenditure; and
  • Privatising NSW’s electricity network assets offers little short term budgetary gain and could well be detrimental over the medium to long term.

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The McKell Institute report can be accessed at http://mckellinstitute.org.au/Electricity-Privatisation-version-1.pdf

Evidence from the privatisation of the South Australian and Victorian networks has shown that a reduction in the safety and reliability of the network is a result. Maintenance programs are scaled back and redundant capital capacity is eliminated. In Victoria, blackouts increased by 32% following privatisation.

As well, privatisation resulted in large reductions of the number of staff employed as well as significant outsourcing of important functions. Privatisation also affected the quality of the jobs remaining with workers reporting increased stress and work intensification.

In a Professionals Australia privatisation survey members made their concerns clear. Members feel that the network should remain in public hands and that profit will drive network investment decisions rather than safety and reliability. Members are also concerned that training opportunities for new engineers as well as those currently employed will be reduced.

The Campaign and how you can contribute

From now until the election, campaign organisers will be ramping up activity to ensure the issue is at the forefront of people’s minds when they vote on March 28 2015. To help achieve this, a significant advertising budget is needed as well as a large amount of local community based activities.

Professionals Australia is calling on members to contribute to the campaign fund. We are seeking the extra funding so that we can play our part in the campaign and ensure the voice of professional engineers is heard.

There are two ways you can contribute – use the payment form on this page or :

Directly deposit funds to this account:

Name: Apesma
BSB 063-000
A/C 11996426

If you choose this option please include your name and this text: STOPTHESELLOFF in the payment description.

We are also asking members to join the campaign on the ground. Volunteers are needed to take part in campaign actions within Sydney and surrounds.

If you would like to volunteer please register your interest by contacting Nick Gotsis at ngotsis@professionlasasutralia.com.au.