Grant Goldman Editorial Thursday 28 September 2017

‘Fire Sale Mike’ endorses Gladys Bairdjiklian’s policy direction. 

As reported in the Daily Telegraph of September 1st [page 23] “Baird our premier dad”; it warns others not to put their careers ahead of family, by Annabel Hennessy. Bambi said he had been watching from afar and thought Gladys Berejiklian was doing an awesome job.

Why is the immediate-past former Premier so supportive of Gladys?  Probably because they are one in the same. She is following his policies. Despite this, when Baird’s hand-picked successor took over his reign as Premier [and conveniently, whilst rival Premiership aspirant Doctor ROB STOKES was overseas] the NSW public were informed by her, that she would endeavour to be more consultative and less authoritarian than her predecessor. Well, since then we haven’t witnessed that consultative style employed; with the re-eruption of the Powerhouse Museum saga; given that a second pre-planned meeting; scheduled to take place at Ultimo was abruptly cancelled. Instead, the Premier unexpectedly announced that a government museum land acquisition deal was already secretly concluded with Parramatta Council and by taking advantage while Parramatta Council was still under Macquarie Street appointed administration. Sydneysiders are foreseeably seemingly more likely left with an inferior museum site alongside the Parramatta River without weighty consideration regarding the site’s flood zone.  We also saw that after initially raising the prospect of demerger plebiscites for Baird’s forcedly amalgamated Councils; Gladys subsequently and quickly changed her policy stance. It was only those Councils that were game enough and who undertook injunctive court action; and only after already winning some significant legal battles, that were graciously then let off the amalgamation process.

Reportedly, the Premier is advocating for even more privatisation of our public’s assets. [Are there many left to sell? I hear listeners cry].  Furthermore, as recently Revealed in the Sydney Morning Herald, by Sean Nicholls we became aware that $12 Billion of Crown lands estate which includes parks, golf courses, caravan parks and grazing lands, farmer travelling stock routes used by farmers during times of drought will be officially valued as a prelude to large scale sell-offs. These are the places you loved and enjoy; in a re-adoption of a Neo-liberal privatisation ideology, at its best. Seemingly, under new Premier Gladys Berejiklian the NSW privatisation mania, initiated under former Premier Mike Baird will only accelerate. They have a fancy name for it. They call it Asset recycling, which is basically another giant privatisation scam. It was reported that now banker Baird wants to export his cherished Asset recycling concept to other Australian states, the USA; and then, who knows?  Maybe, even the World, given he is evidently so proud of it.    Asset recycling is merely a sham re-badging of the large scale privatisation of public assets.  Under the federal supported scheme Australia’s state governments, some allege, were induced to privatise public assets following a ‘bonus asset recycling subsidy’ awarded from the Federal Treasury. However, NSW really didn’t need much encouragement, anyway. The Productivity Commission has warned that asset recycling “could act to encourage privatisation in circumstances that are not fully justified and [only] encourage the selection of new projects that do not have demonstrable net benefits”.  Bingo! Might we have solved the Powerhouse’s missing business case mystery?

University of QLD economist Professor John Quiggin, in the Guardian, described asset recycling as the “last gasp of a failed model….the core problem with the recycling idea is that income generating assets were sold to finance new investments that did not generate income”. [Economics 1.0, I would have thought]. Yet again, just like what we have seen with the sell-offs of the NSW state’s then people owned electricity assets by Mike Baird [that even included power stations, seven of them; i.e. Vales Point, Colongra, Eraring, Mt Piper, Wallerawang, Liddell and Bayswater were sold for pennies on the dollar], another major reason our power prices are so high is because of NSW [energy] privatisations. Also, long gone [to corporate {non-government} interests courtesy of premier come banker Baird] are the key major ports of Port Newcastle, Port Kembla and Port Botany.  Rather like selling your house to buy an expensive car, this is a trick that can only be done once, and leaves governments with increased net debt. We have ended up with growing public opposition to the NSW government’s disastrous and soon to be privatised WestConnex tollway scheme, the illogical & unnecessary looming sell-off and transplantation of the Powerhouse Museum and ultimately the $12 billion Crown Lands estate is to be officially valued as a precursor to large scale real asset sell-offs; the tide of public support may be turning against the less than democratic Bairdjiklian regime installed into power by the warlord lobbyist faction of the NSW Liberals in whom many MPs stake their careers. The ugly truth about the disaster arising from the experience of asset recycling; privatisations of community assets for the benefit of big businesses must be revealed and opposed.

The L/NP State Government agenda from day one, it seems, was to obtain office with the cynical support of their allies in the upper house and to dispose of our key public assets. Now our Argentine future awaits.    Wake up NSW & Australia!    What he said.

Leave a Reply