Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt says a Newman Government’s fire-sale of state assets will see at least $750 million that could have been spent in regional Queensland communities go up in smoke.
“The Newman Government has now admitted it sold seven taxpayer-owned office blocks in Brisbane to its own Queensland Investment Corporation for $226.3 million less than their book value,” Mr Pitt said.
“As Shadow Treasurer I have previously revealed that the government will spend close to $1.1 billion over the next decade or so in leasing back the office space in the buildings.
“Given that the gross proceeds from the sale are known to be close to $562 million, this shabby and ill-conceived deal means taxpayers will lose at least $750 million over the next decade even on conservative estimates.
“The Premier and the Treasurer have spent months claiming the deal was good value when now we know it has resulted in a huge loss for taxpayers.
“The $750 million going up in smoke from this fire-sale could have been earmarked for job-creating projects in regional Queensland.
“This huge loss of taxpayers’ funds will occur simply because the Newman Government wanted to justify its self-indulgent decision to kick-start a new riverfront Executive Building for the Premier and his Ministers in the Brisbane CBD.
“The loss of $750 million once again spotlights the twisted priorities of the Newman Government that has forgotten about regional Queensland. It always puts itself first and regional communities a distant last.”
The seven Brisbane office blocks sold by the Newman Government are:
- David Longland Building, 63 George Street – $37,000,000
- Education House, 54 Mary Street – $66,000,000
- 61 Mary Street – $90,000,000
- Primary Industries Building, 62-80 Ann Street – $37,000,000
- 111 George Street – $143,000,000
- 33 Charlotte Street – $78,500,000
- Mineral House, 41 George Street – $75,500,000.
They were sold in a private deal with the QIC in March and gross proceeds including stamp duty totalled $561.98 million.
“An Opposition Right to Information search revealed a huge difference between the sale price and the book value of the buildings which has only now been revealed to be close to $230 million,” Mr Pitt said.
“I have always suspected the sale price was less than market value and now we know just how much taxpayers have lost.”