Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt says motorists could see their cost of living jump further if all of Brisbane’s tollways end up in the hands of a private monopoly.
“There are big risks in any sale of Queensland Motorways Ltd by the Queensland Investment Corporation,” Mr Pitt said.
“The biggest risk for motorists is if the tollways are bought by a single owner which could then charge whatever it likes.
“That would further drive up the cost of living on top of the Newman Government’s 22.6% jump in power bills, and its broken promises to cut car rego bills and household water bills.”
[singlepic id=536 w=320 h=240 float=left] Mr Pitt said through Queensland Motorways the QIC owned tolling rights to five motorways: the Gateway Motorways; Logan Motorway; Go Between Bridge; the Clem Jones Tunnel; and the yet-to-be-completed Legacy Way.
“It was only recently that the QIC bought the Clem7 tunnel — a transaction that helped cut the massive debt of the Brisbane City Council that started to skyrocket under Campbell Newman as Lord Mayor and is now more than $2.2 billion,” he said.
“That is why it is intriguing that reports today suggest the QIC is planning to offload its toll road investments because it is ‘too exposed’ in the tollways sector.
“Those same reports also note that through its defined benefit super fund the QIC is one of the potential buyers of the Airport link toll tunnel.”
Mr Pitt said the sale of the tollways would represent the loss of more state assets without the approval of voters.
“If the QIC sells Queensland Motorways, the business and its revenue are lost to the public sector for good,” he said.
“Motorists will also lose the ability to have their say on toll rises through the ballot box.
“The Premier has said he would contemplate asset sales only ‘after telling people upfront prior to an election’.
“Yet the Premier has already broken that promise by selling off more than $3.3 billion in state assets to date including seven office blocks in the Brisbane CBD at $226 million less than their book value, as well as TAFE and school assets.”