Documents released by the State Government have revealed that the 2015 sale of Vales Point Power Station leaves NSW exposed to potentially billions of dollars in liabilities.
In June, the NSW Legislative Council supported the Greens’ call for the government to release the sale contracts for Vales Point and Eraring power stations.
At that time, Central Coast Green MLC and spokesperson for Mining, Coal and CSG, Abigail Boyd, said “the government has failed to adequately regulate these power stations since their sale, raising serious questions about the details of the deals struck.
“We may now get some answers about these terrible deals,” she said.
“In 2015, Gladys Berejiklian, treasurer at the time, charged, Trevor St Baker and Brian Flannery, just $1m for the right to operate Vales Point,” Boyd said.
“Yet, St Baker and Flannery valued Vales Point at $730m in 2017.
“At the same time, the community has suffered increased electricity costs of around 60 percent and the State retains the cost of cleaning up the site.
“This government tried to justify the $1m price tag by reference to the amount of liabilities transferred to the purchasers through the sale.
“These documents reveal that those liabilities were limited to $68m at the most, a trivial amount for St Baker and Flannery, given that they apparently cleared $90m in their first year of operation.”
Boyd, a former corporate and finance lawyer, said “once again, we see that while companies profit, communities are left to pay.
“The government has effectively sold off the income stream generated from the power station while leaving the public on the hook for potentially billions of dollars in rehabilitation and clean up.
“This is the latest giveaway to private investors.
“We now know that the state is also responsible for rehabilitation and clean up in relation to Eraring, Bayswater, Liddell and Colongra power stations.
“Just this week, a report by Environmental Justice Australia highlighted how the lack of regulation of toxic coal ash waste is risking community health and wrecking fragile environments.
“The Berejiklian and Baird governments’ privatisation agenda has been a disaster for NSW communities while making no real improvements to the state’s finances.
“The public deserves to know exactly how much it will cost to clean up the mess caused by decades of contamination in and around these power station sites.
“Claiming an $800m surplus is a bit silly when you are simultaneously failing to account for billions of dollars in future liabilities,” Boyd said.
Media release, Jul 10
NSW MLC and Greens spokesperson for Mining, Coal and CSG, Abigail Boyd