It's on: less than a year to state election, political rivals claim and counterclaim

THE election battle for the state seat of Monaro is well and truly underway.

Last Wednesday, Labor's candidate for the seat - and former Member - Steve Whan issued a press release that challenged "the Nationals local representative John Barilaro to say whether he supports his new leader's plan for privatising hospitals, selling poles and wires and expanding the GST".

"Mr Barilaro said before the election he was "totally opposed" to the privatisation of electricity, yet he has already voted to sell the generators and now his new leader says he wants to sell the critical monopoly infrastructure poles and wires," Mr Whan said in the statement.

"Instead of saying no, the Nationals are now saying how much will we get?

"Monaro voters should be deeply suspicious; the Nationals local representative was staunch supporter of the disgraced work choices which tried to rip away working conditions and standards from employees. Now we see Mr Barilaro in the team that wants to privatise hospitals and electricity infrastructure and solve revenue problems by charging families more."

Mr Barilaro hit back, accusing Mr Whan of "running a scare campaign".

"Does Mr Whan also not remember that under Labor electricity prices rose by 70 per cent," Mr Barilaro said.

"This is a man who supports the Carbon Tax, the very reason why regulated gas prices will rise and leave families across the state including those in the Monaro left to pay for Labor's refusal to abolish the tax which the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) estimates adds $168 to the annual household power bill."

He also dismissed claims the government will privatise hospitals, sell off poles and wires and expand the GST as little more than irresponsible scaremongering in an attempt to achieve cheap headlines.

"Steve Whan is doing what he does best, stirring up trouble in the absence of evidence," Mr Barilaro said.

"Does Mr Whan also forget that he was the Member for Monaro at the time when he and his Government tried to sell Snowy Hydro?

"If he was serious about this issue, he would have remembered that I lead the debate when the National Party unanimously agreed against selling Snowy Hydro and thankfully the sale was stopped by the coalition at a Federal level."

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