Ausgrid: Mike Baird criticises Federal Government for taking too long to decide on Chinese bid block

New South Wales Premier Mike Baird has criticised the Federal Government for taking so long to decide it would block two Chinese bids for the state’s poles and wires business Ausgrid.
But Mr Baird said politicians who campaigned against Chinese investment, which is one of One Nation’s key positions, are not being helpful.

“Ultimately, I think we need to remind ourselves that foreign investment is critical, wherever it comes from.
Mr Baird’s plan to raise about $10 billion for infrastructure from the lease was thrown into turmoil yesterday, when the Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison announced he would not green light the two preferred bidders, Chinese Government-owned State Grid and Hong Kong-based company Cheung Kong Infrastructure.

Mr Morrison cited national security concerns as the reason for his decision, but has refused to elaborate further.
Mr Baird said he had not spoken to Mr Morrison personally, but that NSW Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian had conveyed the State Government’s frustrations to her federal counterpart.
“My main frustration in this process is that I believe the decision should have been made much earlier,” Mr Baird said.
“There were a number of milestones along the way and I think there was an opportunity to deal with this many months ago.
“Hopefully there are some lessons learnt through this process but ultimately I am very, very relaxed about this.”
Trying to scare people not helpful: Baird

Mr Baird refused to be drawn directly on whether he thought the Federal Government’s decision was pandering to the newly elected senators from the One Nation Party, who will now exert considerable influence in the Senate.
But Mr Baird said politicians who campaigned against Chinese investment, which is one of One Nation’s key positions, are not being helpful.
“Ultimately, I think we need to remind ourselves that foreign investment is critical, wherever it comes from.

“Trying to scare people about it is not a helpful contribution. It wasn’t a helpful contribution from the state Labor party, it’s not a helpful contribution more broadly across the political spectrum.
“We need to be above that.”
During the 2015 state election, Mr Baird accused the NSW Labor party of running a xenophobic scare campaign against the prospect of Chinese ownership of the electricity network businesses.
Mr Morrison rejected suggestions that his decision was driven by any of the same sentiments.
“What happened in the NSW election is the Labor party ran spooky ads saying ‘ooh they might sell it to the Chinese’,” Mr Morrison said.
“Now that’s very different from the sober decision that I have made as a Treasurer based on national security advice, to put the national interest first.”

Mr Baird again emphasised that there were “other bidders” for Ausgrid if the Commonwealth sticks by its decision, and downplayed the impact it would have on the asset’s price tag.
http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-12/mike-baird-criticises-federal-government-blocked-ausgrid-bids/7722328

One Comment Add yours

  1. Suzanne O'Connell says:

    Foreign investment is fine, foreign ownership is not. Not now not ever.

    Like

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