CCIQ welcomes discussions about Queensland asset recycling
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) has welcomed State Opposition plans to put asset recycling back on the political table.
CCIQ was pleased to hear LNP Leader Lawrence Springborg state that his party wished to have a discussion again with Queenslanders about asset sales or leasing.
CCIQ Director of Advocacy Nick Behrens said small business was overwhelmingly supportive of the former LNP Government’s plans to lease assets.
CCIQ-ReachTEL polls indicated significant support for the then Newman Government’s policy on asset leasing.
Mr Behrens said the results highlighted that there was majority support for leasing CS Energy, Stanwell, Powerlink, Energex, Ergon and the Townsville and Gladstone Ports.
He said the January 2015 state election result, which saw Labor win, was a reflection of the voting public’s rejection of the LNP.
But small business believed the loss was not materially due to the controversial issue of asset sales or leasing.
“We have urged both the State Government and the LNP to be pragmatic about privatisation,” he said.
“CCIQ believes there is strong merit in exploring both long-term leasing and sale of assets provided the proceeds of privatisation are used to pay down government debt and reinvested in priority infrastructure projects.
“The NSW electricity transmission business TransGrid recently sold to an Australian-led international consortium for $10.3 billion under a 99-year lease arrangement. The NSW State Government will net $7bn, assisting their $20bn infrastructure program earmarked for new rail lines and roads.
“And NSW is eligible for the Federal Government’s 15 per cent incentive payment under the National Partnership Agreement on Asset Recycling – gaining an extra $1bn on top of the $7bn from the sale.”
Mr Behrens said Western Australia was also in the process of privatising the Perth Market Authority; Fremantle Port; TAB; Utah Point; and Forrest Product Commission.
“Inevitably, the State Government and the LNP must reconsider their respective policies on privatisation,” he said.
“CCIQ believes privatisation of state-owned assets can improve the performance of essential service delivery, leading to lower prices and better quality service outcomes that will help raise the productivity of Queensland businesses.
“The State Government and LNP have an opportunity to deliver assets that will meet the ongoing needs of Queensland for decades to come if only we lose this ideological aversion to privatisation.”