Reports of a multi-billion dollar infrastructure deal with the federal government that would mean a total sell-off of NSW power assets is speculation, Premier Barry O’Farrell says.
News Corp Australia reports the federal government is considering a deal with NSW that could funnel up to $5 billion of company tax revenue into the state for infrastructure projects.
In return, NSW would have to privatise its $15 billion worth of remaining electricity assets, the reports says.
Mr O’Farrell said he had not discussed such a deal with Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
“It certainly hasn’t been the subject of any discussions I’ve had with the prime minister, of which I’ve had many, very constructive discussions since his election,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
He conceded that selling more public assets “would be of benefit to NSW”, but said he was not aware of “any deal that’s being done”.
“I tend to work on the basis of reality, rather than speculation,” Mr O’Farrell added. He reiterated his pledge not to sell the state’s poles and wires infrastructure.
“It’s still my clear commitment, as it was at the election, we’re not selling poles and wires,” he said.
The premier said his relationship with the federal government on the issue of infrastructure remained “very positive”.
“I came to office wanting to be infrastructure premier, I now have an infrastructure prime minister who has put money on the table,” he said.
Unions warn that the sale of poles and wires could mean NSW electricity transmission ends up being foreign-owned.