Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt says the Newman Government has confirmed it has hired two investment banks to make preparations for the sale of electricity and water assets without the approval of voters.
“The LNP is on track to undertake the biggest asset sale and privatisation program in Queensland’s history,” Mr Pitt said.
“In State Parliament the Premier confirmed that he has hired investment bank Rothschild to start work on the sale of assets in the electricity ‘poles and wires’ business Powerlink — a state asset he has previously said he did not want sold.
“The Treasurer Tim Nicholls confirmed that investment bank Macquarie has been hired to work on the sale of major water pipeline distribution networks across Queensland.
“The Premier scrambled for an excuse and came up with the absurd claim that his government is not engaged in privatisations or assets sales but is ‘investigating alternative financing options’.
“Why would any private company invest its money if it receives no return or a degree of ownership?
“The Premier cannot escape the simple fact that if his government outsources power lines to private companies, it is still asset sales and privatisation.
“It will cost taxpayers more through higher prices and will inevitably cost jobs as private operators put profits as their first priority.
“You can’t go and gut a business by selling all its most valuable assets, leave the shell behind and claim you haven’t broken your commitment with Queenslanders not to sell assets.“
Mr Pitt said the Premier needed to identify which parts of Powerlink including regional transmissions lines would be sold.
“Already this Government has sold more than $3.3 billion in assets including seven office buildings, schools and TAFEs,” he said.
“The Treasurer made no announcement prior to the sale of seven office buildings in the city at almost $230 million less than their book value.
“Given the Newman Government’s lack of openness and accountability, Queenslanders could soon wake up to find that our water and electricity assets have been sold in secret.
“The Newman Government is now on track to engage in the largest asset sale and privatisation program in Queensland’s history.
“Labor heard the message loud and clear at the last election – Queenslanders do not support the sale of publicly owned assets.
“It is time Campbell Newman was given the same message,” Mr Pitt said.