NSW’s $7bn TransGrid up for bids

The Australian state has kicked off its poles and wires divestment plan and announced a breakdown of its infrastructure renovation programme for the four years to come.

The government of New South Wales (NSW) will issue documents this week for the A$9bn (€6.1billion; $7 billion) sale of TransGrid, the first of three transmission networks the Australian state is expected to put up for sale.

In June 2014, the government unveiled Rebuilding NSW, a plan to lease 49 per cent of the state’s electricity network assets to fund a $20 billion investment in new and productive infrastructure across the state.

The portfolio is made up of 100 per cent of TransGrid, 50.4 per cent of Ausgrid and 50.4 per cent of Endeavour Energy.

The sequencing of the Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy sales will be confirmed in due course and remain subject to market conditions. UBS and Deutsche Bank are handling the process. Initial bids are expected to be lodged next month, with a shortlist announced around the end of August.

Proceeds from the sale will be directed towards the funding of a $20 billion state-wide infrastructure renovation programme which includes $1.1 billion to invest in the northern and southern extensions to WestConnex along with the Western Harbour Tunnel, $7 billion for Sydney Rapid Transit to fully fund a second harbour rail crossing, $2 billion for schools and hospitals, $4.1 billion for regional transports, $1 billion for regional water security and an increase in funds available for sports and cultural infrastructure from $500 million to $1.2 billion.

Rob Stokes, NSW’s Planning Minister, today also announced a breakdown of the state’s annual $1 billion budget for the next four years, covering urban planning and infrastructure, with an emphasis on supporting new homes and services throughout the state and making the system simpler and more efficient.

“Providing record funding for infrastructure and amenity is accompanying record levels of housing supply in NSW and will help to put downward pressure on house prices,” he said in a statement. “This investment represents a down payment on the parks, shops and jobs needed to create distinct and liveable neighbourhoods as Sydney and NSW grow.”

In 2015-16, the NSW Government will invest $77.6 million to support infrastructure for new homes in The Hills and Blacktown local government areas; $46 million towards new parks, streetscapes and roads to support communities in Priority Precincts; $26 million from the Hunter Infrastructure and Investment Fund to local infrastructure projects, including more than $12 million towards the University of Newcastle’s New Space project; $19.9 million to construct the on-line Planning Portal to make the planning system simpler and easier to use.

It is also planning to spend $16.9 million to halve the time it takes to assess state significant projects, expand community consultation opportunities and ensure there is adequate capacity to assess environmental and social impacts to support the Government's unprecedented level of investment in transport and social infrastructure in NSW; and invest $19 million to establish the Greater Sydney Commission and deliver the Plan for Growing Sydney.