The head of a leading economics firm believes asset sales are needed to give Queensland’s economy a solid foundation into the future.
BIS Oxford Economics managing director Robert Mellor has told a business breakfast in Brisbane that Queensland needs to again consider asset sales to generate funds for big infrastructure projects to boost the economy.
Mr Mellor says a series of asset sales in NSW have led to significant infrastructure projects being given the green light there.
“This is a massive program that’s going to keep going for another five, six or seven years. And the asset sales allowed them to do that, and I suspect here in Queensland they need to consider asset sales,” Mr Mellor said on Tuesday.
“There were asset sales under the previous (Bligh) government but the current government hasn’t gone down that road, and at the moment that’s the big difference (between Queensland and NSW).”
Mr Mellor said the “sustained weakness” in the Queensland economy hadn’t been seen in the last 40 years, with the mining boom lifting the state out of a number of potential economic holes.
“The real good things that are going (for Queensland) is on the tourism front, maybe they can make more from the Commonwealth Games next year but this is a soft period.”
Anna Bligh’s Labor government suffered one of the worst defeats in Australian electoral history in 2012 running on a campaign of assets sales.
The Newman Liberal National Party government pitched a form of asset sales in its “Strong Choices” asset leasing plan, however it also suffered a major boilover in the 2015 state election.
Treasurer Curtis Pitt has categorically ruled out asset sales, while Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls, who was treasurer in the Newman government, has been less firm, but has avoided any moves on the issue.