This is sadly not the first time that I have raised a very important issue in this House, and this evening I discuss the detrimental impact that the New South Wales Liberal Government's decision to privatise the State's energy assets is having on not only the residents of the Swansea electorate but also the people right across this State. We will all remember that it started back in June 2014, when the then Government announced its plan to privatise the poles and wires across New South Wales. The then Government also promised that all of the money generated from that plan would be used to build new assets that would be owned by the State and that energy prices would not rise as a result of the scheme.
We also know how the promise not to sell the new assets went. In debate on the Electricity Retained Interest Corporations Bill 2015, the then Parliamentary Secretary for Treasury and current Treasurer said that allowing private investment in the network assets would mean a more efficient network and therefore lower prices for consumers. Nothing could be further from the truth, and the Treasurer himself has admitted that in the past weeks by negotiating to buy back the exact assets that were privatised in 2014.
The people of Swansea and I fiercely opposed the Government's plan to privatise electricity. In fact, during the 2015 election campaign, which was dominated by that issue, locals constantly told me that the privatisation of the State's electricity network would see energy prices skyrocket as well as a lack of resource availability. I shared that view with my local community, and I voted against the privatisation of the network. Despite that, the privatisation of energy prevailed. Today in this House, the Premier said that the Government took it to an election and had a mandate. I say to this House right here and now: That was not the case in the electorate of Swansea. The 15 per cent swing against the Government was mostly because of its privatisation plan, and it turns out the people of Swansea were spot on.
We just need to look to the events that have unfolded over the past few weeks to see that the Government's privatisation of electricity assets has terribly burdened the people of New South Wales. The State's energy resources have become so scarce that families right across this State have been bracing for blackouts and soaring power bills. That came straight from the Treasurer's mouth. We even saw the Treasurer, and Minister for Energy pleading to residents to turn off their heating, lights and other appliances in the midst of winter. The Minister's actions are an absolute joke. We are living in the twenty-first century, not in the Middle Ages. Energy supply and cost should not be an issue, but under this Liberal Government they are.
The Government has clearly not learned that its ideological obsession with privatisation results in nothing but job losses, less services and higher prices. Being charged more for basic essential services like electricity has such negative impacts on everyone across the community, but it especially hurts low-income earners. Like you, Mr Assistant Speaker, I represent many of those people. With the rise in the cost of living, the stark reality is that more low-income earners, not only in the Swansea electorate but right across New South Wales, are staring down the barrel of having their electricity disconnected as a result of the incredible price increases.
It is very clear from the Government's energy privatisation agenda that members opposite care more about their economic aspirations than they do about the people of New South Wales. Their actions have done nothing but hurt local communities and prove that they are not fit for governing. It is time for the New South Wales Liberal Government to own up to its mistakes and acknowledge that privatising our electricity was the wrong decision. It must then take immediate action to shore up supplies and decrease power costs right across this State, so that residents can turn on their heaters and are not left freezing.