Robertson wired up

NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson and Blue Mountains Labor candidate Trish Doyle at the electricity sub-station in Blaxland with concerned residents.

NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson and Blue Mountains Labor candidate Trish Doyle at the electricity sub-station in Blaxland with concerned residents.

With Blaxland electricity sub-station at his back last Thursday, NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson warned Blue Mountains families they would face "skyrocketing" power bills under Premier Mike Baird's plan to lease 49 per cent of the electricity network's poles and wires.

But MP for the Blue Mountains Roza Sage hit back, claiming there would be strict conditions and safeguards in any lease of part of the network and proceeds from privatisation would go directly to funding much-needed infrastructure.

She described Mr Robertson and Labor's Blue Mountains candidate Trish Doyle as having "nothing to contribute to this issue other than parroting the predictable scare campaign."

Mr Robertson said families in the Mountains were "already struggling due to cost of living increases under the Liberals - they simply can't afford to pay more for electricity.

"When the Liberals privatised electricity in South Australia, they promised lower energy bills and now South Australia has the highest electricity prices in the country," he said.

"And in a double whammy, NSW will lose $1 billion that our electricity network currently generates each year. Mike Baird needs to tell us how he plans to replace that $1 billion each year."

Ms Doyle said after the devastating bushfires "the last thing locals need is higher bills for essential utilities like power.

"He (Mr Baird) is just taking the people of the Mountains for a ride, with shiny brochures advertising infrastructure projects that have no dollars behind them and no plans."

Mrs Sage said the NSW government has a plan to transform NSW by unlocking $20 billion in infrastructure spending through Rebuilding NSW, funded through a 99-year lease of 49 per cent of the state-owned network companies.

She said strict conditions for a lease would include all net proceeds invested in new productive infrastructure and electricity network prices being discounted by one per cent off the forecast regulated prices until 2019.

"The fact is that network prices have been more than 100 per cent higher in NSW's publicly owned system than in the privately-owned Victorian or South Australian networks," Mrs Sage said.

"Where was Mr Robertson's concern over cost of living for residents when electricity prices were skyrocketing by 60 per cent over five years under the previous NSW Labor Government?"

Mr Robertson said Mrs Sage had "failed to produce a result on any matter in the Blue Mountains."

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