Queensland’s premier says he will not lease assets unless they get top dollar, which the opposition says leaves his economic plans in doubt.
The Liberal National government has declared the state election on January 31 to be referendum on its plan to lease state assets to the private sector.
It wants to lease the power network, two ports and a railway for 49 years in return for about $33.6 billion. The money will be used to fund new infrastructure, which the government hopes will create thousands of jobs.
But after hearing news the NSW government had taken a power plant off the market because no one will meet the asking price, Premier Campbell Newman has promised to do the same.
“We would retain assets under our control if we weren’t getting that full value,” he said while campaigning in Rockhampton on Thursday. However, if the government cannot find buyers, it would jeopardise the time frame of its leasing and subsequent infrastructure building program.
Shadow treasurer Curtis Pitt said the central pillar of the LNP government’s plan for the Queensland was now in doubt.
“The whole of the LNP’s fiscal policy relies on an uncertain future as laid out by Campbell Newman today,” Mr Pitt said.
“You can’t say maybe we will sell some assets and maybe we won’t when your entire fiscal and economic plan for Queensland relies on asset sales.”