Nicholls admits taxpayers won’t own ‘leased’ electricity infrastructure, unless they buy it back
Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the Government’s dodgy asset sales pitch had been blown apart, with the Treasurer conceding that if taxpayers want to resume ownership of the assets that are ‘leased’, they will have to buy them back in 50 or 99 years, presumably at a cost of tens of billions of dollars.
Mr Pitt said that under the ‘lease’ of the South Australian electricity network, any new assets built to replace existing infrastructure – such as substations, transformers, poles and wires – would not be owned by taxpayers.
“Electricity infrastructure has a general lifespan of 30-50 years. Over a 50 or 99-year lease, that means all infrastructure is likely to be replaced at least once,” Mr Pitt said.
“Under the South Australian lease model, which the Treasurer is considering, any new infrastructure built to replace existing infrastructure won’t be owned by taxpayers.
“The new owners, who will be paying for the new infrastructure, will get to keep that infrastructure. Anything they replace will be theirs forever.
“That’s unless, as the Treasurer says, taxpayers want to buy them back. How much will $28 billion worth of electricity assets cost us in 50 or 99 years’ time?
“The fact is, taxpayers won’t pay the private sector to reclaim those businesses, which means taxpayers will never own these assets again.
“The LNP’s taxpayer-funded advertising campaign says ‘when the lease ends, the asset is returned’.
“It’s just another LNP lie, and its taxpayers who will pay the price.”
Mr Pitt said apart from a short-term sugar hit, taxpayers will be left with nothing.
“It sounds like under the LNP’s asset ‘lease’ plan, the assets won’t be returned to us, we won’t receive the billions of dollars in profits, and Queenslanders won’t have any control.
“Labor has always said this is an asset sell-off, not a lease plan.
“The LNP should immediately cease their deceitful advertising campaign, and they should apologise to Queenslanders for lying about their asset sales plan.”