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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh
    Treasurer and Minister for Employment and Economic Development
    The Honourable Andrew Fraser

    Renewing Queensland: Future investment Plan


    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Treasurer and Minister for Employment and Economic Development
    The Honourable Andrew Fraser

    Tuesday, June 02, 2009

    Renewing Queensland: Future investment Plan

    The Bligh Government will undertake a wide-ranging and responsible sale of government-owned assets as Queensland continues to bear the brunt of the global economic crisis.

    Premier Anna Bligh today outlined the assets which would be sold over the next three to five years as the government works through the economic meltdown which has punched a $14 billion hole in government revenue.

    "The need to respond to the biggest economic challenge in decades is very real, very confronting and requires some very tough decisions to be made," Ms Bligh said.

    "Today, I am announcing that my government will take those very tough decisions and – while they are necessary and while they are responsible – I am certain they will attract opposition and debate.

    "But they are consistent with the immediate needs of our state’s immediate future and they move Queensland forward in a way which secures our long term future in what are the most troubling economic times in more than a generation.

    "Make no mistake – these were the tough choices that had to be made. With a $14 billion hole in our revenues over the next four years, my government was faced with the decision to cut jobs, to half our $17 billion building program or to sell assets.

    "I will make jobs a priority.

    "I will not slash the building program.

    "The tough decisions we have taken are the sensible, responsible ones."

    Ms Bligh announced the government-owned assets which would be offered for sale are:

    Queensland Motorways Limited

    The Port of Brisbane

    Forest Plantations Queensland

    Queensland Rail’s above and below rail coal business; and

    the Abbott Point Coal Terminal

    Treasurer Andrew Fraser said today’s announced program of asset sales will be progressed over the next three to five years.

    Mr Fraser said this timeframe recognises not only the complexity of the process and the need for detailed plans on the sale structure but also recognised the state of markets as critical to timing decisions.

    The staged program will deliver estimated proceeds of $15 billion and avoid a further $12 billion in required capital investment over the next five years – representing a benefit to taxpayers of almost $30 billion.

    The Government will forgo annual estimated returns of approximately $280 million as a result of the sale program but the $12 billion in avoided capital expenditure will save Queensland around $750 million every year in interest.

    These measures have the potential to reduce state debt by $15 billion.

    Mr Fraser said the effects of the global recession meant that one third of the State’s annual budget would be wiped out over the next four years.

    "To put that in perspective, the further $2 billion decline in our GST receipts since the Federal Budget was handed down last month equates to funding our entire police service for a year," he said.

    "Confronted with economic challenges of that magnitude it’s critical we hold our nerve and along with most governments in the world we have chosen to stimulate our economy in the short term.

    "Above all else, this decision means we not only stimulate the economy but we maintain our solid commitment to keeping Queenslanders in jobs while creating new jobs."

    Ms Bligh said prior to and during the election campaign earlier this year the government had been frank with Queenslanders about the financial challenges confronting the state.

    "I was clear that our determined mandate was to support jobs now in the short term to soften the blow of the global recession, while dealing with the long term reforms that will help restore the state’s finances and regain our triple-A credit rating in the medium term.

    "It’s why my government announced updated budget and financial forecasts just days before the election campaign.

    "It’s why we laid bare the fact that our State Budget would be in deficit across the forward estimates.

    "It’s why I was clear during the campaign about what the priorities of a re-elected Labor Government would be - jobs and the building program.

    "Our record building program supports the jobs of 119,000 Queenslanders as it builds for the state’s future prosperity.

    "Tough decisions like this will restore the state’s finances to enable, not disable, our future growth.

    "It means that as a state in the midst of a global recession we come through the economic crisis stronger, not weaker."

    2 June 2009

    Media: Premier’s Office 3224 4500