Sale of electricity assets is in regional NSW's interests

STRIKING a deal with the Liberal Party to allow for the sale of almost half of the state's electricity assets was done in the interest of regional NSW, Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner maintains.

Despite significant opposition in key regional seats, the Nationals agreed on Tuesday to support Premier Mike Baird's plan to privatise 49% of NSW poles and wires on the condition Essential Energy remained off limits.

Mr Stoner confirmed on Wednesday that protecting the company which employs hundreds in Northern NSW was vital and Essential Energy would remain off any lease unless the Nationals were ever to vote otherwise.

"This is a great deal for NSW and will help transform our regional communities, with a new $1 billion road fund, $600 million to build hospitals and schools and a $1 billion water fund to build regional dams and improve water quality," Mr Stoner said

"The Nationals are determined to make regional NSW a better place to live, work and visit, and this injection will ensure regional communities get access to world-class infrastructure, as well as creating jobs in regional areas and securing a pipeline of investment for generations to come."

Should the Coalition reclaim victory at next year's election, the state will begin to reap profits from the sale by 2016.

While the State Government has yet to confirm where the $6billion secure for regional infrastructure could be headed, APN Newsdesk understands projects including the Pacific Hwy upgrade, are currently being reviewed by Infrastructure NSW and could be updated in time for next week's State Budget.



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