Premier Baird accused of rushing power legislation

PREMIER Mike Baird has been accused of rushing through legislation to privatise NSW's electricity network before an inquiry into the plan has been completed to avoid proper scrutiny.

The final report of a parliamentary inquiry into the plan's merits and shortcomings is not due until June 2.

But Mr Baird introduced a bill to the NSW Lower House on Tuesday, saying the state had already waited two decades for the asset lease to happen.

"We want to get cracking on these initiatives that will make such a positive difference to our cities and our regions for decades to come," he said.

The government says the 49% lease of the state's "poles and wires" electricity infrastructure over 99 years will inject $13 billion into the economy.

Opposition Leader Luke Foley argued the bill's introduction revealed Mr Baird's contempt for proper parliamentary process.

"First Mike Baird appealed the independent regulator's decision to lower power prices - backing in higher power bills for families and businesses," Mr Foley said.

"Now he is trying to bypass the usual parliamentary process and rush through his privatisation plan, before the inquiry chaired by (Christian Democrats leader) Reverend Fred Nile has even had a chance to finish its work.

"This is the biggest transaction proposed by the NSW Government, and Mike Baird is trying to get it underway without attracting too much attention."

Greens NSW MP John Kaye said the inquiry was a "stitch-up that was always destined to deliver a pro-privatisation outcome".

"It is yet to be seen whether Fred Nile will have the courage to punish the government for its breach of faith," Dr Kaye said. -APN NEWSDESK



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