Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairperson Rod Sims said selling public assets has created unregulated monopolies that hurt productivity and damaged the economy. Speaking at the Melbourne Economic Forum on July 26, Sims said the sale of ports and electricity infrastructure and the opening of vocational education to private companies had caused the public to lose faith in privatisation and deregulation. Sims said: "I've been a very strong advocate of privatisation for probably 30 years; I believe it enhances economic efficiency.
Limelight Magazine reported on July 7 that a major restructure at ABC Classic FM could see the loss of several programs and many popular presenters. Quoting senior sources within the ABC, the magazine said the shakeup will see a large number of redundancies, including some of the broadcaster's most high-profile figures, as well the loss of most of its live-to-air presented programming.
"We call on the Baird state government to re-block the Waterloo towers, not knock them down," Richard Weeks, spokesperson for the Waterloo Public Housing Action Group (WPHAG), told Green Left Weekly on July 6. He was referring to the NSW Coalition government's plans to demolish the public housing towers in the inner suburb of Waterloo, and replace them with high-rise, private apartments.
"The Coalition government's plan is not only to privatise Medicare, but to destroy it as a universal, national healthcare system," Peter Boyle, the Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Sydney, said on July 1. "The plan is based on a form of 'creeping privatisation,' together with undermining its coverage of the majority of community health services around the country."
The Powerhouse Museum in inner-city Ultimo is a great place to take the kids for an educational and enlightening experience. The NSW Coalition government's plan to sell off the museum building to private developers and shift the collection to Parramatta in Western Sydney is facing growing opposition. Premier Mike Baird confirmed on April 11 the government's decision to shift the museum, to be constructed on the old David Jones car park site on the banks of the Parramatta River. Construction is due to begin in 2018 and finish by 2022.
The New South Wales Baird government has announced an historic decision to privatise public housing. In a $22 billion bonanza for the government's property developer mates, public housing estates will be torn down and rebuilt into places where private tenants and homeowners outnumber social housing tenants by 70% to 30%. NSW Coalition Minister for Social Housing Brad Hazzard announced the state government's "Future Directions for Social Housing" policy. It includes the transfer of 35% of public housing to community housing organisations.
Negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) were finally completed in Atlanta on October 5. Final agreement on the treaty had been delayed for years as negotiating countries tried to protect their own industries while trying to gain market access in others. The TPP was negotiated by countries on the Pacific Rim: the US, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, Chile, Brunei, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Vietnam and Japan. These countries represent about 40% of global GDP.
A leaked management briefing from New South Wales government-owned electricity network business Ausgrid has revealed a plan to slash jobs, close local depots, axe apprenticeships, sell off state-of-the-art training facilities and outsource call centres all in the lead-up to the privatisation of the company. The state government is committed to selling off 50.4% of Ausgrid on a 99-year lease in 2016.
The Socialist Alliance released this statement on March 12. *** "The state government's plan to privatise the power industry’s 'poles and wires' would be a disaster for the people of NSW," Duncan Roden, Socialist Alliance candidate for the Legislative Council in the March 28 state elections, said on March 12. "The sell-off would be an economic and political setback for the public interest, and a windfall hand-out to former merchant banker [and now Premier] Mike Baird's big business mates.
Markets are neither free nor efficient, and they are bad for the environment. Market choice is not cheap. While that may sound like a timeless left-wing credo, it's also a simple assessment of Australia's 20 years of privatisation and market-oriented restructure of electricity supply. Outside small left-wing dissident circles (from Keynesians to Marxists), operating the power industry according to market principles has become an unquestioned and unspoken assumption.