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How much will dividend raid hurt Tasmanians?

  • The Hydro has few options to meet demand for crisis dividend
  • Peter Gutwein must rule out job cuts and power price hikes
  • Dodgy accounting has no place in a state budget

Peter Gutwein must rule out any impact on power prices and energy security from his ‘special dividend’ raid on Hydro Tasmania.

Shadow Treasurer David O’Byrne said the energy business will have limited options to fund the raid.

“Hydro Tasmania’s Board has already warned the government that its dividend policy will lead to an unsustainable debt position.

“The demand for an additional $70 million crisis dividend – above and beyond the 90% dividend requirement – will mean the Hydro has to make some hard choices to find that money.

“If they want to avoid taking on extra debt and protect their cash reserves, the result could be jobs cuts and higher wholesale energy prices.”

Mr O’Byrne said government businesses should not be put in a position where they have to borrow to meet the government’s dividend expectations.

“The Liberals broke a massive promise to Tasmanians by pushing the budget towards $1.4 billion in debt, with no pathway to recovery.

“Peter Gutwein is trying to paint a picture that all is well with the state budget. We know that’s not true.

“He’s now turning to creative accounting to prop up the budget.

“What he’s expecting government businesses to do is borrow to fund dividend payments so it shows up on the government’s books as revenue, not state debt.

“Hydro’s Board has spoken out, but it’s clear the business is being bullied into complying.”

David O’Byrne
Shadow Treasurer