MEDIA RELEASE                                             

Privatisation of NT power generation future slammed

ETU warns NT government over policy inconsistencies, “there is no excuse for privatisation”.

The Electrical Trades Union has revisited two recent inconsistent public announcements by NT ministers about the future of Territory’s renewable power generation assets concluding that the government either has a sneaky privatisation agenda or departments aren’t talking to each other.

The two announcements one on 8th August by shareholding minister Eva Lawlor advising that privatisation of the Territory’s renewable power generation is back on the agenda with a significant private investment announcement, something seemingly completely at odds with recent media comments by the Chief Minister Natasha Fyles spruiking the benefits of public ownership.

“In an NT news article on 26th August the Chief Minister rightly pointed out that the NT government has been able to limit electricity price increases because it owns its power assets, yet just a couple of weeks earlier we had the announcement from the minister setting out a massive privatisation agenda, no consultation, no discussion, just a media release.” Local organiser Dave Strawbs Hayes said.

The union pointed out that at the recent ALP national conference there were major announcements regarding investment of between 2-3% of GDP ($54-78 Billion) towards the transformation of Australia’s economy towards renewable energy, clean industry. The statements include the commitment to support and prioritise the expansion of public ownership in critical industries.

“For Territorians you don’t get much more critical than the power industry, we saw what happened when the government didn’t listen to unions, experts and community in Alice Springs, back in 2019 they had catastrophic failure, blackouts and community trauma. We cannot allow that to happen again.” ETU QLD NT Secretary Peter Ong said.

“There is absolutely no excuse for lazy privatisation policy, there is money available to strengthen electricity security and limit price rises, yet this government undermines its own policies, federal government commitments and its own success with this reckless privatisation announcement.” Ong said.

The union had a stark warning for the ALP government. “Privatisation of critical public infrastructure is poor policy, it is lazy policy and it will be fought against to the end.”

Back in 2016 the NT CLP government were dumped from office on the back of their hapless plans to privatise the Territory’s public power assets against the will of Territorians.

The union is calling on the government to convene urgent talks to clarify the governments commitments to public ownership now and into the future.

“Territorians expect and deserve a government that listens and rejects the failed politics of privatisation.” Ong said.

For more information, call Peter Ong on 0419 721 046 or Dave “Strawbs” Hayes on 0419 721 042.