Amid pressure to ‘come clean’ on her position on electricity privatisation, Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore has signalled her opposition to the controversial proposal by NSW Premier Morris Iemma.

Ms Moore said she does not support electricity privatisation without a sustainable energy strategy and believes it should be deferred.

The Lord Mayor was responding to calls being led by Greens Councillor Chris Harris to state her position, in the lead up to voting on the proposal in NSW parliament.

‘With debate hotting up in parliament and across the community about the electricity sell-off, Clover Moore has remained strangely silent,’ Cr Harris said.

‘Despite her reputation as a supporter of local community concerns, it appears Clover Moore’s time as Lord Mayor fraternising with the big end of town has gone to her head,’ he said.

Ms Moore said she set out her position in a Council meeting in April, where she supported a resolution calling on the State Government to defer current electricity privatisation plans.

The resolution calls on the Government to first develop a sustainable energy strategy that ‘responds to the challenges of global warning’ and ‘transitions the NSW energy sector to renewable and low emission sources’.

All City of Sydney councillors present at the meeting, except Cr Harris, supported the resolution.

Councillor Harris instead proposed that Council oppose privatisation outright, a motion that was lost.

He said that if the City of Sydney council had resolved to oppose the sell-off, ‘it would send a strong message to Macquarie Street.’

Mindful of Ms Moore’s dual role as a member of NSW Parliament, Cr Harris said her vote was important.

‘The Coalition is now likely to oppose the legislation to sell the electricity industry and a number of Labor MPs are threatening to cross the floor.

‘Ms Moore’s vote could determine the fate of the legislation. At this point she could be the only Independent MP voting for the bill.’

With the State Government battling a restive back bench and the NSW Opposition recently making it clear they would oppose privatisation, Ms Moore’s vote could indeed be critical to whether the legislation gets through.

‘Residents deserve to know if she will stand up to represent them, or sell them out to the corporate sector,’ Cr Harris said.

– Linda Daniele

*This article was first published in City Hub, June 15, 2008 and in City News June 21, 2008.