Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt says the Newman Government’s response to the final Costello Audit report shows it will sell assets without asking Queenslanders, and slash services and jobs through widespread privatisation and outsourcing.
“The chanting by the Premier and the Treasurer of ‘no assets sales without asking voters at an election’ is a furphy,” Mr Pitt said.
“The LNP’s response also shows it is abrogating its responsibilities across government including the provision of basic services such as public transport, hospitals, aged care, and water supplies.
“That means more job cuts and lower service levels as private providers seek to lower overheads to maximise profits.
“Asset sales including power industry businesses are still on the table. They have only been postponed, not ruled out.
“The response ‘for further consideration’ is their escape clause. So too is their reference to ongoing reviews such as the Keelty review into police and emergency services.
“The fact is the LNP government has already sold about $3.3 billion in state assets without a mandate — government-owned buildings in the city, the Electranet electricity business and QR National shares.”
Mr Pitt said the Newman Government’s response to the Costello Audit showed:
- the sale of electricity generation assets would be “further considered” and be subject to “further detailed investigation” (response to recommendation #7)
- the government would “further consider” selling the retail arm of Ergon Energy that would increase power prices in rural and regional areas (recommendation #9)
- it would sell coal mines owned by power companies such as Stanwell without a mandate (recommendation #11). The coal mines included Meandu and Kogan Creek that provided the source of power for the state electricity grid
- the government had agreed to sell off its IT business CITEC within two years without a mandate (recommendation 149)
- the government had accepted the sale of “non-core” assets without a mandate (recommendation #13)
- that Sunwater’s dedicated water supply infrastructure servicing commercial and industrial clients be sold without a mandate (recommendation 27)
- the government had fully accepted recommendation #46 to “rationalise” its asset base through disposals or consolidations
- it would sell QBuild, Project Services and RoadTek business units without a mandate (recommendation 33).
“All of these sales not only hold the possibility of impacting service levels but will definitely have a negative impact on jobs especially in rural and regional Queensland,” he said.
Mr Pitt said having just received the Costello Audit report and the government’s response he needed to study it further, especially in relation to the fate of government workers’ superannuation if the LNP proceeded to sell off the Queensland Investment Corporation.
He said the government had effectively announced it had no interest in delivering services expected by taxpayers.
“The LNP has clearly marked itself as a government that wants to do nothing itself except outsource its responsibilities to private providers who will put profit before people,” he said.
“This is perhaps the biggest abrogation of responsibilities of any government in Australia.”
Mr Pitt said the LNP planned to privatise or outsource without a mandate:
- hospital clinical services; clinical support services such as pathology, radiology and pharmacy; and non-clinical support services such as catering, cleaning, laundry and ward support
- community health services
- metropolitan passenger rail services and network infrastructure and bus services
- all government fleet services now delivered by QFleet
- tenancy and property management services
- police services such as traffic control, traffic camera services, as well as court support, technical support and watchhouses
- operation of Stadiums Queensland.