Private energy tycoon donates to Nicholls' campaign

Trevor St Baker in an electric Tesla car. Picture: Mark Cranitch.
Trevor St Baker in an electric Tesla car. Picture: Mark Cranitch.

HE'S the man who made hundreds of millions of dollars buying a power station when the New South Wales government sold it off.

And now Trevor St Baker is one of the biggest financial backers of LNP leader Tim Nicholls' election campaign.

The energy tycoon has grabbed widespread media attention over the past year after details of his purchase of the Vale Point Power Station, near Newcastle in NSW, hit the headlines.

St Baker's company, Sunset Power International, reportedly bought the coal-fired power station off the NSW State Government for just $1 million, in 2015, only to see it revalued at $730 million two years later.

The power station was set to be decommissioned but was given a new lease on life after the Federal Coalition revised its energy policy.



Delta Electricity’s Trevor St Baker. Picture: Adam Armstrong.
Delta Electricity’s Trevor St Baker. Picture: Adam Armstrong.

However, despite winning big in the sell-off of NSW's power assets and now making big donations to the party which sought to sell off Queensland's assets, less than three years ago, Mr St Baker has strongly denied lobbying the Queensland LNP to privatise the sunshine state's electricity generation plants.

"I have never had a meeting with Tim Nicholls," the power tycoon wrote from his iPhone while holidaying in Colombia.

"My wife and I decided to respond to the LNP this time with this by-far larger donation for the present State election campaign, simply because the LNP cannot match the campaign support Labor gets from Unions, and businesses are reluctant to come forward with election campaign support if they are going to be publicised as lobbying for a business interest.

"In all my business life, I have never lobbied for a benefit, and have built businesses on fundamental policy principles which don't involve government handouts.

"This personal election campaign donation by my wife and I is not connected to any of the numerous business I am involved in."

Mr St Baker donated $50,000 to the LNP on November 10 - the equal second biggest donation to the party this year.

His donation was made by the St Baker Family Trust which trades as Sunset Power Pty Ltd.

John Short, Mr St Baker's government relation's adviser said: "the donation was made by Sunset Power."

"Sunset Power is part of the St Baker family investments.

"Very importantly, Sunset Power is completely separate from Sunset Power International trading as Delta Electricity."

Sunset Power International is the company which bought the Vale Point Power Station off the NSW State Government.

"As set out by Mr St Baker, the donation was made on a purely personal basis," Mr Short said.

Queensland LNP leader Tim Nicholls has promised 20 extra police for Cairns. Picture: Glenn Hunt
Queensland LNP leader Tim Nicholls has promised 20 extra police for Cairns. Picture: Glenn Hunt

His gift was only topped by coal baron Ian McCauley who gave $75,000 and waste management company JJ Richards & Sons which also handed over $50,000.

A spokeswoman for the LNP was asked if Mr Nicholls had met with Mr St Baker and whether they had discussed privatising Queensland's energy assets.

"The LNP Leader's diaries are published on the Queensland Parliament website," she said.

"The LNP Leader has repeatedly ruled out asset sales.

"Our position is clear - no asset sales." 

Topics:  donation donors editors picks electricity lnp politics privatisation qld election 2017 queensland state tim nicholls

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