Ausgrid is a distributor of electricity to eastern parts of Sydney, the Central Coast, Newcastle and the Hunter Region.
In June 2014, the then government announced its commitment to lease components of the state's electricity network as part of the Rebuilding NSW plan. Implementation of the policy began after the government was re-elected in 2015. Between November 2015 and August 2016, the NSW Government held a competitive tender process to lease 50.4 per cent of Ausgrid for 99 years. The NSW Government abandoned the process on 19 August 2016 after the Australian Treasurer rejected two bids from foreign investors, for national security reasons. That day, the Premier and Treasurer released a media statement clarifying the government's objective to complete the transaction via a competitive process in time to include the proceeds in the 2017–18 budget.
On 31 August 2016, the state received an unsolicited proposal from IFM Investors and AustralianSuper to acquire an interest in Ausgrid under the same terms proposed by the state during the tender process. In October 2016, the government accepted the unsolicited proposal.
This audit examined whether the unsolicited proposal process for the partial long-term lease of Ausgrid was effectively conducted and in compliance with the government’s 2014 Unsolicited Proposals: Guide for Submission and Assessment (Unsolicited Proposals Guide or the Guide).
The audit focused on how the government-appointed Assessment Panel and Proposal Specific Steering Committee assessed key requirements in the Guide that unsolicited proposals must be demonstrably unique and represent value for money.