The Mercury reports the lack of political will for exploring the potential sale of public assets in Tasmania appears well-founded, if the results of a new EMRS poll is anything to go by.
During its poll of state voting intentions earlier this month, EMRS also asked a question on asset sales.
Almost nine out of 10 people said they opposed the sale of key Australian assets such as roads, ports, electricity networks and other utilities to foreign companies.
EMRS chief operations director Samuel Paske said the result appeared to endorse the major parties’ reluctance to consider large privatisations at state level in Tasmania.
“This is a very clear result, which demonstrates that a significant majority of Tasmanians are strongly opposed to the sale of key Australian infrastructure to foreign companies,” Mr Paske said.
The Liberals came to government with policy not to sell any of Tasmania’s major public assets or businesses.
This policy has been adhered to despite significant enticements from the federal government.
Premier Will Hodgman resisted pressure from the former Abbott Government to consider selling assets such as Hydro Tasmania in order to qualify for up to $600 million in Federal funding under an asset recycling scheme.
Leading economist Saul Eslake has also previously urged the State Government to open its mind to asset sales, and consider seeking a mandate at the next election.
In the lead up the last state budget Mr Eslake said asset sales would fund substantial new infrastructure investment.
“The Hodgman Government could seek a second-term mandate for asset sales to fund substantial new infrastructure investments.” Mr Eslake said last year.
The only thing that is for sale is the Aurora customer base, however there have been no takers so far.
The sale of the customer base was set in motion by the former Labor Government in an effort to open the state’s electricity market to full retail competition.
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