LNP should come clean on asset sales: Dametto

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto has questioned whether the LNP will push ahead with asset sales of electricity assets.

HINCHINBROOK MP Nick Dametto has demanded the LNP level with Queenslanders and rule out the selloff of the State’s electricity assets, which could potentially push up power prices for residents.

Mr Dametto said voters had every right to be wary of the LNP’s “privatisation agenda”, given the previous Newman Government had considered a plan to privatise $33.6 billion worth of the State’s assets.

“We know that’s what the LNP wanted to do if they won a second term in 2015. It would have seen electricity generators CS Energy and Stanwell sold, as well as Ergon’s retail business,” Mr Dametto said.

“The LNP leadership team still have a Newman stench and Queenslanders want to know – will they dust off the old LNP manual if they get back in with a majority? The LNP should be upfront with Queenslanders now as to whether they will do this. We all know what happens when governments privatise our assets – the service goes down and the cost to the consumer goes up.

“And let’s not forget when Labor sold off assets under the former Bligh Government. Selling off Queensland assets is a one-way ticket into political exile known as opposition.”

Mr Dametto said the KAP “would always block the sale of State-owned assets”.

“Unlike the LNP, we’re not beholden to failed free-market ideology. We believe Queensland’s strategic assets, like electrical power generation and distribution, must be kept in the hands of Queenslanders. They should never be allowed to end up controlled by profit-driven private entities,” he said.

“Market competition is not a silver bullet solution. The LNP’s claim of electricity prices for households and businesses falling by an average of $300 per year if elected is just nonsense. You only have to look at jurisdictions where competition has been introduced to see that.”

Mr Dametto said residents in Victoria and south-east Queensland, where electricity competition existed, had seen similar skyrocketing prices to regional Queensland.

“Those I’ve spoken to in the energy industry have made it crystal clear what is required if we are going to get serious about slashing your power bill,” he said.

“Industry bodies have stated that the removal of unnecessary regulatory charges which inflate power prices would be a huge help. Things like banning energy network owners from overvaluing their assets to inflate their returns. This could save customers $500 million to $1 billion per annum.

“Additionally, removing the Competitive Neutrality Fee so Queensland’s state-owned energy businesses can borrow at the government interest rate instead of market rates as well as removing unnecessary charges levied by the Queensland Competition Authority could reduce prices by up to 10 per cent.

“The gold plating of our electrical assets needs to stop. Removing these unnecessary government fees and charges means consumers will have more money in their back pocket.

“Voters should be very careful in trusting any candidate who cannot give a straight answer on asset sales or spruiks the “free market”, which has proven to be the vehicle that has driven up the cost of living for hard working Australians.”

Nick Dametto MP