Labor stunt ignores most of NSW

23 May 2023

At the last election, NSW Labor ran a blatant Mediscare style campaign on the privatisation of Sydney Water.

The shameless campaign had no basis in fact, as the Coalition was not going to privatise water assets, and strongly supported keeping them in public ownership.

Labor’s political campaign has now resulted in a legislative stunt, which is not only unnecessary but also does not adequately protect end-to-end water supply either within Sydney or outside of Sydney.

Leader of the Opposition Mark Speakman called out the Labor Bill as an improper use of the NSW Constitution, and the culmination of a shameless scare campaign orchestrated by Labor and the unions in order to trick voters and win an election campaign.

“We will be moving amendments to the Bill, but our preference is to have protections in their own Act of Parliament, in accordance with proper constitutional principles,” Mr Speakman said. “If Labor’s objective for the Bill is to protect water assets from privatisation, then this Bill falls severely short. It’s hurried policy simply designed to suit the Labor Government’s political purposes.”

“Our amendments would properly protect the State Owned Corporations responsible for the supply and delivery of water from privatisation.”

Shadow Attorney General Alister Henskens said the limited scope of this legislation could be interpreted as a secret agenda by the Labor Government to privatise excluded water assets.

“The Warragamba Dam is owned by WaterNSW rather than Sydney Water or Hunter Water and this Bill raises the question of whether there is a secret agenda to privatise the many water assets in our state that lie outside of the scope of Sydney Water and Hunter Water,” said Mr Henskens. “WaterNSW’s own website shows that it supplies two-thirds of water used in NSW, and it is not covered by this Bill.”

Shadow Minister for Water Steph Cooke said the Bill falls desperately short in protecting the water rights of people across State.

“This Bill discriminates against the 1.85 million people who obtain their water from water utilities other than Sydney Water and Hunter Water,” Ms Cooke said. “By focusing just on Sydney and Hunter and failing to acknowledge the rest of the NSW, this Bill raises serious questions about to the future security of WaterNSW and the 89 local water utilities across regional, rural and remote NSW.”

“If Labor were truly serious about protecting end-to-end water supply in New South Wales, they will support our proposed amendments and not exclude one third of our State’s population, simply because of the location of their water meter.”