Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt says the Newman Government is engaging more highly paid consultants to get state assets ready for sale even before receiving approval from voters and the bill will now skyrocket over the current estimated $300 million.

“The Newman Government is arrogantly assembling an army of consultants to prepare our state assets for sale even before voters have their say as promised,” Mr Pitt said.

[singlepic id=605 w=320 h=240 float=left] “This week the Newman Government advertised for even more consultants willing to provide more advice on the sale of assets such as our power network, export ports, and water pipelines.

“The new consultants providing ‘technical and environmental advisory services’ will be on top of the 17 consultants already engaged to prepare assets for sale.

“Treasurer Tim Nicholls should detail the projected costs involved in engaging the latest consultants and those already on the public payroll.

“He has so far arrogantly refused to tell taxpayers how much of their money he is spending on existing consultants engaged to prepare assets for sale long before voters have a chance to have their say – despite the fact that the previous Labor Government and even the Abbott Government had revealed such costs.”

Mr Pitt said the cost of consultants on asset sales typically ranged between 1% and 1.5% of proceeds and the LNP Government expected to realise $37 million from asset sales.

“That means that even a conservative estimate would put the bill so far at over $300 million to sell these assets and we again challenge the government to dispute this figure, because it will not release it publicly,” he said.

“That’s huge buckets of taxpayers’ cash being shovelled by the LNP at big financial firms such as Merrill Lynch, Macquarie Capital, and RBC Capital Markets.

“While the Abbott Government had no problems listing the cost of its asset sales consultants in its Federal Budget papers, the arrogant Newman Government keeps its spending of taxpayers’ funds top secret.

“If the Premier and Treasurer were genuinely open and accountable, why won’t they say how much taxpayers’ money they are spending to break their promise of no asset sales without a mandate from voters?”

“Before the last election the LNP said it had a plan to boost the economy without asset sales. It promised it would have our state tracking towards 4% unemployment without the need for asset sales.

“It also promised to cut the cost of living, notably cutting power bills by $120 a year, without the need for asset sales. But not one of these plans has seen the light of day.

“The only plan the LNP has ever had is to sell assets which will mean job cuts and higher cost of living, and Queenslanders aren’t buying it.”