21 May 2018
The Berejiklian Government must come clean on whether it will forcibly acquire the Liddell power station, after AGL knocked back a $250 million bid by Alinta Energy.
Last month, Deputy Premier John Barilaro announced that he would “absolutely” support a government-led acquisition of the Liddell power station if AGL refuses to sell the coal-fired plant.
Today’s announcement from AGL, that it will refuse to sell Liddell, puts the pressure on Mr Barilaro to either meet his commitment – or show that nothing he says can be taken seriously.
The power station was built and then owned by the NSW Government for decades before the NSW Liberals and Nationals privatised it in 2014.
AGL told the share market that it had acquired the asset as a free option – it picked up the power station for nothing.
The $250 million valuation of a power station that was literally given away shows the degree to which the Liberals and Nationals have routinely squandered valuable public assets, and failed to deliver affordable and secure energy supplies for NSW households and businesses.
At the same time, Federal and State Liberal National Governments now want to tell AGL what kind of energy it is allowed to produce at Liddell and are even considering forcibly buying back the power station using taxpayers’ money.
Quotes attributable to Labor Leader in the Legislative Council and Shadow Minister for Energy Adam Searle:
“The Liberals and Nationals ‘sold’ Liddell for nothing. But today AGL have knocked back $250 million for it.
“The public of NSW have lost every way with this botched privatisation.
“The Liberals and Nationals gave away an asset that was worth more than $250 million, and now John Barilaro wants to buy it back.
“And all the while consumers are being hit with ever higher electricity bills.
“The only legitimate interest government has is to ensure there is a sufficient supply of affordable, reliable and sustainable electricity to the community.
“Instead of engaging in crony capitalism, the NSW Government should be encouraging AGL to invest in new electricity generation in the Hunter Valley. This will create jobs and be good for the local economy.”