The NSW Government has announced that it intends to undertake a long-term lease of 49 per cent of the “poles and wires” network businesses, to unlock $20 billion in infrastructure funding, including $6 billion for regional NSW.
NSW Premier Mike Baird said that the state government will be undertaking a number of infrastructure projects as part of the Rebuilding NSW project.
For Sydney, the centrepiece of the plan will be a new Sydney Rapid Transit line, including a second harbour rail crossing and extending the North West Rail Link through the CBD and beyond to Bankstown.
In the regions, among other projects, Rebuilding NSW will support a Regional Roads Fund and a Regional Water Fund, each worth at least $1 billion.
“These projects will be delivered by transferring 49 per cent of the Government’s ownership of a range of electricity transmission and distribution companies across to the private sector, in the form of a 99-year lease.”
Conditions on the lease will include:
- All net proceeds will be invested in new productive infrastructure;
- Electricity network prices will be discounted by 1 per cent off the forecast regulated prices until 2019;
- The jobs of permanent award employees will be protected and treated consistently with previous transactions;
- The transaction will have no adverse impact on electricity reliability; and
- The regional presence of the network businesses will be maintained.