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no sale

Public Fight to Stop the Sale of Snowy Hydro

The public fight to stop the sale of the Snowy Hydro commenced from November 2005 when a band of notable public, other persons banded together to try and stop its privatisation.

The group who first joined together in an attempt to stop the sell-off included former Senior Engineer Max Talbot, Coral Talbot, former Snowy Commissioner Vin Good, previous Independent Candidate for the seat of Eden-Monaro Acacia Rose, John Gallard, Cooma-Monaro Shire Council Mayor Roger Norton and Snowy River Shire Council Mayor Richard Wallace.

Jindabyne mother of two boys, Lee Taylor-Friend and Vicky Wallace mother and key figure in the Snowy River Alliance and Dalgety District and Community Association organised public rallies in Jindabyne and Cooma putting pressure on governments to withdraw from the sale.

The Snowy River Shire Council was the first to vote for a NO SALE of the Snowy Scheme leading over 100 Mayors from around NSW to vote against the sale. Key politicians including Greens Sylvia Hale in the NSW Government, the late Peter Andren, Independent for Calare, Tony Windsor Independent for New England, Greens Senator Bob Brown and National Party Senator Kay Hull rallied drawing in farmers, conservationists and ordinary Australians from around the country to stop the sale of the Snowy Scheme.

Ski engineer Doug Nichols brought together 100 celebrities including Kate Blanchett who signed a petition asking the then Prime Minister John Howard to call off the sale.

Legal advice obtained by Senator Brown indicated that the Commonwealth Parliament voted on a 'motion' in Parliament and not a 'Bill' making the vote to sell the Snowy illegal.

By June 2006 the Australian people forced the Prime Minister to withdraw from the Commonwealth's intent to sell their 'share' of the Snowy Scheme. The Snowy Scheme was 'corporatised' in 2002 on a promise to not privatise the Snowy Scheme and entrusted the ownership to three government 'shareholders', the Commonwealth, NSW and Victorian Governments. However, moves were already afoot to sell the Snowy Scheme governments only revealing their intentions on 1 November 2005. In 2006 the NSW and Federal elections were held and Labor Candidates Steve Whan (State) and Mike Kelly (Federal) committed not to sell the Snowy Scheme. However, the NSW Government proceeded after the State Election to attempt to sell the publicly owned energy sector in 2008 and was defeated at Labor Caucus. Steve Whan was elected on a promise not to privatise the Snowy Scheme however supports the privatisation of the NSW Energy Sector. Mike Kelly continues to promise not to sell the Snowy Scheme however in July 2008 raised the prospect of leasing Snowy Hydro. This will further endanger environmental flows to the Snowy River.

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