Campbell-Newman defiantly holds onto poles and wires
Queensland’s new Premier is of the people, and for the people. That’s why he doesn’t want those greedy corporations getting hold of his State’s transmission or distribution businesses. This is in direct opposition to Martin Ferguson’s call for all state owned assets to be privitised.
Newman has called the links between generator and consumer ‘natural monopolies’ that should be ‘owned by the people’. He is correct in stating that even with privitisation customers do not have the option of switching network providers. In Victoria, the bastion of deregulation, consumers are serviced by one of five companies that own the infrastructure in their area. This creates a natural monopoly.
But Queensland does not only control network assets, it has many of its fingers in the energy pie including: CS Energy, owner of 1,720MW Callide Power Station, 750MW Kogan Creek Power Station, 500MW Wivenhoe Hydroelectric Power Station, 1,680MW Gladstone Power Station; Energex, owner of Queensland distribution networks; Ergon, retailer and distributor of electricity; Powerlink, transmitter of electricity; and Stanwell Corporation, owner of 1,460MW Stanwell Power Station, 1,400MW Tarong Power Station, 443MW Tarong North Power Station, 385MW Swanbank E Power Station, 302MW Mica Creek Power Station, 150MW of Hydro Power and the 34MW diesel fired Mackay Gas Turbine.
And why would Newman want to privitise Energex or Ergon, when they contributed a combined total of $440 million to State funds in 2010-2011. According to AER Energex and Ergon Energy, both state-owned assets in Queensland rank second only to AusGrid, a NSW owned state-asset in terms of expenditure in the current regulatory period.
Much of his bold pseudo-socialist oration about protecting Queensland’s silverware comes from his election promise not to privitise and an effort to paint himself as different to Labor; but it may cause more harm than good. He may display loyal sentiments to voters, and they may in turn feel a warm sense of Statism towards him, but they will turn on him if there is not alleviation of price rises.