Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has repeated his tactic of hiding the full cost from Queenslanders of the LNP’s record $33.6 billion asset sales program.
“The costs could easily cost taxpayers up to $300 million even before they have had a chance to vote for or against asset sales at the next election,” said Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt.
“That’s a measure of the arrogance of the Newman LNP Government and its determination to forge ahead with its asset sales plans without listening to Queenslanders.”
Mr Pitt said the Newman Government was concealing key facts from Queenslanders about the real costs of the LNP’s planned asset sales which were set to strip billions of dollars of revenue from the state’s budget.
“The Premier again refused to provide any details of the costs of consultants hired to sell state assets without an election mandate,” Mr Pitt said.
“When asked about the cost of the 17 asset sales consultant appointments so far, he continued his strategy of hiding all of these costs from Queenslanders.
“Big finance companies like Merrill Lynch, Macquarie Capital, and RBC Capital Markets are already pocketing our taxpayer dollars.
“The Abbott Government detailed the cost of its asset sales consultants in the Federal Budget Papers.
“If it’s good enough for Tony, it should be good enough for Campbell.
“If Campbell Newman was serious about being open and transparent, he would plainly answer these very reasonable questions about the real cost of asset sales that Queenslanders don’t even want.”
Mr Pitt said the cost of consultants on asset sales typically ranged between 1% and 1.5% of proceeds.
“These are conservative estimates. For example, the published budget for the sale of Medibank Private is 2.3% of the expected proceeds,” he said.
“This means that the Newman Government could be committing to outlays and contracts in excess of $300 million on asset sales without any election mandate at all.
“If Campbell Newman won’t tell Queenslanders what this number is then they can only assume that it is massive and in the order of $300 million.
“I challenge the Newman Government to release the actual figure.
“Previous State Governments and the Federal Government disclosed these costs prior to transactions proceeding and so should this government.
“The Newman Government must immediately end their arrogance and secrecy on asset sales spending that’s already being chalked up to the taxpayer.
“This money could have been allocated to key infrastructure across the State rather than being spent on bankers and consultants.
“The LNP went to the last election saying they had a plan for debt without asset sales.
“Now they are telling Queenslanders that assets sales are their only plan and that they have already made up their mind.
“At the next election, the choice for Queenslanders is clear.
“The LNP will do what they want and when they want no matter what Queenslanders say.
“Labor has listened to Queenslanders and won’t sell assets.”