“The privatisation of Snowy Hydro Limited has not been a policy or election commitment under the Howard Government,” the prime minister announced this morning.
Howard said that due to the uncertainty facing the environment, farmers, irrigators and “all those who depend on the health of the Murray-Darling Basin”, the sale of the 13% stake would not deliver “long-term benefits” to the country.
Last month, the Australian Government joined forces with the New South Wales and Victorian state governments to unveil “protective measures” that capped individual holdings in Snowy Hydro at 10% for a period of four years.
The imminent listing of Snowy Hydro on the Australian Stock Exchange has been tipped as the “hottest IPO of the year” by Dow Jones analysts.
However, with today’s announcement, the Australian Government’s 13% stake in the Snowy Hydro project has been withdrawn from the IPO.
“It is now up to the New South Wales and Victorian governments to decide on action in relation to their respective shareholdings,” Howard said.