People power at its best in pollie protest

PEOPLE POWER: Griffith resident Steve McLean and Mick Hoppie, from the Electrical Trades Union of Australia NSW branch, join around 50 locals rallying outside Adrian Piccoli's office.

PEOPLE POWER: Griffith resident Steve McLean and Mick Hoppie, from the Electrical Trades Union of Australia NSW branch, join around 50 locals rallying outside Adrian Piccoli's office.

IT WAS a case of people power at its best last Thursday afternoon when around 50 passionate protestors rallied outside member for Murrumbidgee Adrian Piccoli's office.

They were there as part of the Stop the Sell Off campaign urging Mr Piccoli to oppose plans to privatise the state's electricity network.

The protestors, led by local resident Steve McLean, said they were taking action following NSW?premier Mike Baird's announcement that plans for a sale of the state's electricity poles and wires would be taken to a party room meeting tomorrow.

"The premier's proposal is apparently to initially sell 49 per cent sale of the publicly-owned power companies Essential Energy, Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy and TransGrid, but just like with Telstra and Qantas, once part of these assets are privatised the rest will follow," Mr McLean said.

"We know that the majority of locals are opposed to the sell off of public assets, and in particular essential services like electricity, which is why we are taking a stand.

"If Adrian Piccoli and the Nationals give the green light to any form of electricity network privatisation, including a partial sale of just the Sydney network, the Nationals will be signing the death warrant for Essential Energy and regional NSW."

Mr McLean said they took issue with a comment Mr Piccoli made on radio.

"He said on ABC radio that they can do what they like with the poles and wires in Sydney but the reality is if the Nationals fail to stand up against this proposal it is only a matter of time until Essential Energy is sold with massive local job losses and higher electricity bills," Mr McLean said.

"Just this week independent polling revealed that 70.3 per cent of voters living in regional electorates were opposed to the sale of our poles and wires.

"The sentiment in Griffith is no different, which is why Adrian Piccoli must stand up and represent the wishes of our local community.

Mr Piccoli told ABC radio that people in his electorate had "made it very clear they don't want their local electricity poles and wires to be sold, and I agree with them''.

''If [people in] Sydney want to sell their poles and wires, they can do that. But in the country, where Essential Energy run the poles and wires, I certainly won't be supporting the sale, even the partial sale.''

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