Until the 1980s there had been a trend towards increased state ownership of industry. The reversal of this trend, began with the Thatcher experiment in the 1980s. That policy was adopted in other countries, notably Eastern Europe after the Fall of the Wall and represented an epochal change in political economy. Privatisation was recognised by major elements of the political class as offering more efficient means of providing goods and services even in firms that enjoyed some form of natural monopoly. This motivation was reinforced (some say dominated) by a need to raise money as a result of government profligacy.
Leading this movement in Australia was the Kennett/Stockdale Government in Victoria which in the 1990s sold businesses in energy, transport and other areas raising over $30 billion in the process. That government ensured that the privatised businesses were, whenever possible, split into competing units to facilitate commercial rivalry.