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Byron Shire
April 19, 2021

Labor accuses Nats of misleading voters on electricity sell-off

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The NSW Labor party is accusing the Nationals of misleading voters by handing out flyers saying only electricity assets in Sydney would be privatized.

Tweed candidate Ron Goodman said the truth was that Transgrid, the high voltage network across the north coast, would be sold off if the Nationals win the election on Saturday.

Mr Goodman said the flyer being distributed by Nationals candidates in Lismore, Tweed and Ballina was deliberately misleading.

Labor’s energy minister Adam Searle, who is visiting Lismore today, said premier Mike Baird had let the truth slip during a radio interview with the ABC on Monday.

Mr Baird was asked whether the leasing of Transgrid would impact the regional workforce, 40 per cent of which is located in regional NSW.

‘Yeah. There is an element of the workforce at Transgrig regionally, that’s right, and there is significant transmission .. um … wires,’ Mr Baird told the interviewer on the ABC Statewide Drive program.

Mr Searle pointed out that Transgrid had electricity assets throughout NSW.

‘If the Liberals and Nationals are re-elected they will sell 100 per cent of Transgrid,’ he said.

‘Mike Baird has let the cat out of the bag,’ Mr Searle said.

‘Transgrid will be sold – 100 per cent of it – and the Coalition’s claim that the electricity network in regional NSW will somehow be quarantined from the sale has been exposed as a lie.

‘We’ve seen claim after claim from Nationals MPs that the country electricity network will remain in public hands.

‘It’s not true. It was never true. The premier has admitted it’s not true.

‘Transgrid will be gone for good – and soon after, so will the rest of your country electricity network.

‘The only way to stop the electricity network from being privatised is to number every box and put your local Liberal or National candidate last on the ballot paper on Saturday.’

Fairfax media revealed on Tuesday that Mr Baird had met with Liu Zhenya, the president of the Communist government-owned State Grid Corp of China, expected to be a frontrunner in the power auction, at a business roundtable function in Beijing in September.

It was also revealed treasurer Andrew Constance had also met representatives of State Grid.

Since then, national security concerns around the $20 billion poles and wires sale have emerged because the winning bidder would be handed a 100 per cent stake in TransGrid, the sole power supplier to Canberra, including the headquarters of ASIO, the nation’s international spy agency ASIS, the Australian Federal Police, multiple government departments and Parliament House.

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