Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has defended controversial new plans to develop state-owned land, labelling it “normal business” for government.
As part of the “Advancing Our Cities and Regions” plan, the government will partner with developers and local councils to turn under-utilised government land into “urban renewal” projects.
The funds generated will help back infrastructure such as Brisbane’s Cross River Rail tunnel.
Ms Palaszczuk denied the government had broken its election promise not to sell state-owned assets.
“Governments of both persuasions, their normal course of business transactions have involved the buying and selling of land,” she said.
“We are looking here primarily at precincts that will create jobs.”
Ms Palaszczuk, who is in Townsville for the week, on Thursday announced the policy will include a $28 million waterfront promenade development in the city.
“This is about delivering for regional Queensland,” she said.
“This huge area here will be completely transformed under my government’s vision to build a new, vibrant city.”
Earlier, Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said the announcement represented a “significant upscale” in economic strategy, but denied the plan constituted an asset sale.
“I know it’s easy and simplistic to put it in those terms, but that’s not what we’re doing,” she told ABC radio.
“To categorise it as a wholesale asset sale is a misrepresentation.”
Senior ministers have previously referred to a promise not to sell “income-generating assets” and Ms Trad on Thursday said the land in question was “essentially draining on the taxpayer purse”.
Shadow treasurer Scott Emerson insisted the government had broken its word.
“Labor branded land sales as asset sales and they said they wouldn’t do it,” he said.
The government’s plan will include both state and local council-owned land in places like the Townsville waterfront, Toowoomba’s railways parkland and central sites in Rockhampton, Mackay and Hervey Bay.
It also includes several central Brisbane sites, including the Mayne rail yards at Bowen Hills and properties at Boggo Road, Roma Street and Woolloongabba.