HYDROELECTRIC POWER STATION CONSTRUCTION
Mr PEACOCKE: I address my question without notice to the Minister for Land and Water Conservation. Is it a fact that the Government has
signed an agreement for the construction of hydropower stations at major dams in New South Wales? How will this agreement assist employment and electricity consumers?
Mr SOURIS: The issue about which the honourable member for Dubbo has asked a question will be of absolutely no interest whatsoever to members of the Opposition. The issue relates to rural areas and resource allocation.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Wallsend to order for the second time. I call the honourable member for Eastwood to order.
Mr SOURIS: The Opposition will stay preoccupied with the polls. It is fortunate that today honourable members have the benefit of the presence of their electorate secretaries in the gallery. It is good to see them here. Any one of them could put together a better showing than 27 per cent, that is for sure. This morning I had the privilege on behalf of the Government of signing a contract between the Government and the Hydroco partnership, which is a partnership comprising Lend Lease and Fluid Energy Systems, which has as its chairman a former Minister from this place, the Hon. Jack Beale. The agreement was to encapsulate the construction of hydroelectric power stations on three sites in country New South Wales - Burrendong Dam, Copeton Dam, and Glenbawn Dam - and a proposed option for further sites at Split Rock Dam and Pindari Dam.
As I predicted, that has no relevance to the Opposition. At the moment the only member of the Opposition who represents a country electorate is on a cruise boat with the navy going around the Great Australian Bight. That is a pity. The agreement represents an important historic moment in the construction of hydroelectric power stations in New South Wales. The proposal for the three power stations, which will come into effect immediately and will result in the three power stations being completed within two years, represents an investment of $54 million in country areas of New South Wales. It represents also the creation of 100 jobs. The forecast revenue from electricity sales for the three power stations is between $8 million and $9 million. The deal that has been struck between the Government for site rental and water royalties represents an income flow to the Government of about $2 million per annum.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! There is far too much audible conversation in the Chamber. Members who are conversing should extend a little more courtesy to those who are speaking and those who are trying to listen by reducing the level of their conversations or conducting them outside the Chamber.
Mr SOURIS: The 50 megawatt capacity represents approximately a million standard light bulbs and will make a contribution of about 175 gigawatt hours per annum.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Burrinjuck to order.
Mr SOURIS: The agreement, to run for 30 years, represents an important purchase for three county councils: Western Power Electricity, Northwest Electricity, and Shortland Electricity, which supplies electricity to Newcastle and the Hunter Valley.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Londonderry to order. I call the honourable member for Cabramatta to order for the second time.
Mr SOURIS: The price that has been agreed between the suppliers and the three county councils is below the current supply charge for Pacific Power and, therefore, will bring considerable benefits to consumers of electricity in the areas supplied by those three county councils.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the Minister for Consumer Affairs to order.
Mr SOURIS: This deal represents a landmark decision. It will provide the State with an alternative energy supply and give New South Wales a triple-A benefit: a win for the Government in terms of revenue flow -
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Kiama to order. I call the honourable member for Kiama to order for the second time.
Mr SOURIS: - which will not involve the Government incurring any new debt, new capital or new investment and it will be a further use of the water and investment we presently have in our dam storage; a win for rural areas in terms of employment and low cost electricity; and, finally, a win for the environment in terms of the further use of our existing water capacity and a reduction of our fossil fuel reliance.