Contrary to the chest beating last week – and over the last 10 years – by Premier Mike Rann and Treasurer Kevin Foley over the supposed evils of the SA Water “privatisation” contract, the Rann Government had already taken the secret decision to continue the “privatisation” if re-elected in March 2010.
“Prior to the 2002 State Election, Mr Foley was beating his chest on the issue of privatisation and told South Australians that the Labor wanted essential services “run, owned and operated by Government,” Shadow Minister for Finance Rob Lucas said today.
“Labor just happens to believe that essential services…like our water, like our electricity should be operated and owned by the State Government…why else do we have State Governments unless we’re here to run essential services…Labor wants water and it wanted electricity run, owned and operated by Government.”
(Kevin Foley, 891ABC, 18 Jan 2002)
“In addition, Mr Foley last week repeated to journalists that ending the water contract and giving it back to the public sector was still being considered by the Rann Government.
“It is an issue we will discuss and think through over the course of the next few months … I am not ruling that out.”
(Kevin Foley, The Weekend Australian, 5-6 Sept 2009)
“However, Mr Foley was forced to admit this morning on ABC Radio that the Rann Government had already taken the decision to continue the “privatisation” contract if re-elected next year.
“In fact, the Rann Government has already appointed a consultant to provide advice to the Government on how it should manage the process of extending the “privatisation” contract.
“It should be noted that, as with the decision to end the Modbury Hospital “privatisation” contract, the Rann Government has the option to end the SA Water “privatisation” contract if it really wanted to. Whilst there would be difficult issues to resolve, Mr Foley admitted this morning that it was possible.
“The hypocrisy of both Mr Rann and Mr Foley on this issue is breathtaking,” Mr Lucas said.
“Their anti-privatisation screams have now been revealed as no more than phoney election stunts.
“Obviously, the Rann Government has looked at the advantages and disadvantages of whether or not water should stay in private hands, and has decided the private sector option is the better choice.
“The events of the last week show that Mr Rann and Mr Foley are trying desperately to fight the battles of the mid-1990s and are neglecting the important issues facing South Australians today.
“The State Liberals under Isobel Redmond are concerned not with the battles of the mid-1990s, but the important issues currently affecting South Australians, including the state’s water crisis, jobs, and the health and education services.
“On this issue of election issues, there is conflict between Mr Rann and Mr Foley, with the Premier telling journalists last week that privatisation would be a key issue at the next election with Mr Foley in disagreement with Mr Rann.
“It will be much harder in 2009-10 for the Rann Government to criticise privatisation as they’re going through their own privatisation contracts, including the Royal Adelaide Hospital and at least six “Super Schools” projects, where the private sector will actually own the assets for the next 30 years.”