Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt says the sale of 200 million shares in Aurizon, formerly QR National, highlights the need for Queenslanders to see the secret Costello Audit report.
“The latest share sale is another LNP Government asset sale. We know the Costello Audit report recommends more asset sales, privatisation and outsourcing,” Mr Pitt said.
“Queenslanders should be able to read the full report for themselves to see how the latest share disposal fits in with the Costello blueprint for selling off state assets and services.
Mr Pitt said previously we have argued that the government should retain its stake in Aurizon to ensure that taxpayers receive the benefits of future growth in the iconic company formerly known as QR National.
“Since QR National was floated by the previous Government, the government’s retained stake has increased in value by more than $680 million,” he said.
“This is an increase in value of more than $150 for every man, woman and child in Queensland.
“Selling public holdings in Aurizon is not what Queenslanders will have wanted,” Mr Pitt said.
“There were sound reasons for holding on to the public’s entire stake in the company including the opportunity to use dividends to fund future infrastructure and generate jobs.
“In addition as a state-owned asset, the public’s stake in Aurizon could’ve helped lower Queensland’s net debt position when assets are counted against liabilities. That can mean a stronger credit rating and lower borrowing costs if future borrowing is required.
“My concern was that long-term value was retained in the best interests of Queenslanders and I don’t believe that has happened by the government selling further shares in Aurizon.
“Aurizon shares represent an asset, not a liability for Queenslanders.”
Mr Pitt said the previous Government heard Queenslanders loud and clear at the last election, that people don’t like asset sales.
“The Newman Government promised not to sell assets before gaining a mandate from the people and taking the plan to an election campaign,” he said.
“However, while the LNP Government continues to make these ‘promises’ they are selling off assets like Aurizon and our public hospital system by stealth.
“Campbell Newman certainly didn’t seek a mandate before the last election to sack more than 14,000 government workers. They quite simply breached the trust of Queenslanders and they’re doing it again with the sale of Aurizon shares.
“The fact that the Government did not flag this Aurizon sale before it went to market, and the fact they continue to hide the Costello Report begs the question of what do they have to hide?”
Mr Pitt said the Newman LNP Government was embarking on a plan of privatisation in Queensland like we have never seen before.
“Everything is up for sale in Queensland, our hospitals, schools, electricity companies and ports just to name a few.
“The LNP Government’s selling of another 10% stake in Aurizon is another example of their privatisation plan,” he said.
“The LNPs only plan for debt is asset sales and this shows their cuts to frontline services and around 20,000 jobs were all about funding their $4 billion in unfunded promises.”