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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Dominic Perrottet says there are no plans to privatise Sydney Water

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has hit back against Labor claims that he plans to sell Sydney Water, labelling it “a scare campaign on lies”.

In an interview with Sky News on Friday, the NSW Premier said privatising the state-owned corporation had “never been something that has been considered by our government, or ever would be” and said the state government’s pipeline of projects is fully funded.

He said the decision to sell WestConnex, which the Coalition promised it would not privatise in the lead up to the 2019 state election, was “the right decision in the circumstances” and said the first half of the road had already been sold.

The Premier defended privatisation as a “good thing when it’s necessary”.

Perrottet at Westconnex
Camera IconNSW Premier Dominic Perrottet defended his decision to privatise WestConnex as the ‘right’ decision. Jeremy Piper Credit: News Corp Australia

“It was the right decision to sell down (WestConnex) that asset, to reinvest in the future construction of the road,” he said.

“I said at the time I didn’t have any plans to.

“It became very clear it was the right decision to make in those economic times.”

The Premier said he had “completely ruled out” privatising Sydney Water.

“I don’t know anyone in the history of our government that has ever spoken about (selling) Sydney Water,” he said.

Dominic Perrottet (right) and Opposition Leader Chris Minns will face off against each other in the polls next Saturday, March 25. Premier NSW/ Toby Zerna via NCA NewsWire
Camera IconDominic Perrottet (right) and Opposition Leader Chris Minns will face off against each other in the polls next Saturday, March 25. Premier NSW/ Toby Zerna via NCA NewsWire Credit: NCA NewsWire

“Now you have the unions and Labor running a campaign on lies.”

But the Opposition seized on the Premier’s comments, claiming the process of privatising Sydney Water had already begun.

“Now it’s out in the open; when Dominic Perrottet says he has ‘no plans’ to sell Sydney Water, it’s because he thinks he can change his plans at the drop of a hat,” NSW opposition treasury spokesman Daniel Mookhey said on Friday.

Camera IconNSW opposition treasury spokesman Daniel Mookhey said Dominic Perrottet will sell Sydney Water if the Coalition is re-elected next Saturday. NCA NewsWire / Tim Pascoe Credit: News Corp Australia

“He has done this before on WestConnex, he will do it again with Sydney Water. He misled the NSW public and he will do so again,” Mr Mookhey said.

Mr Mookhey said after the election the Premier’s plans will change again.

“After today’s comments, the only way to guarantee Sydney Water stays in public hands is to vote Labor on 25th March,” Mr Mookhey said.

Also weighing in on the debate was Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who said on Friday that as a NSW resident he didn’t want to live under a government which privatised assets.

“We need to stop the privatisation of water and stop selling off all our assets,” Mr Albanese, on the hustings with NSW Opposition Leader Chris Minns said.

The Prime Minister said NSW residents deserved fairer treatment, which a Labor government would offer.

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