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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Treasurer and Minister for Employment and Economic Development
    The Honourable Andrew Fraser

    Forestry sale exceeds expectations

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

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010

    Forestry sale exceeds expectations

    The 99 year licence for Forestry Plantations Queensland (FPQ), which manages state-owned timber plantations, will be sold for $603 million –above original expectations, Treasurer Andrew Fraser said today.

    “In 2010, the Government has greater priorities than operating a timber business, which is why we have offered a 99 year licence on the forest plantations,” Mr Fraser said.

    “The Government should be investing in schools and hospitals, not funding a timber business that supports other big businesses.

    “By reaching agreement on a price of $603 million, this exceeds original expectations and is great news for Queensland taxpayers.

    “This is the first of the five commercial businesses to be sold, licensed or leased to the private sector, as the Government reforms the state balance sheet and builds a stronger Queensland economy.”

    Mr Fraser said the Government had secured three-year job guarantees for award staff, and 92% of workers in a ballot had recently approved a new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement.

    “Our priority was to ensure the workers’ jobs and entitlements were secured, and by working constructively with the relevant unions, we’ve achieved that.”

    Mr Fraser said Hancock Queensland Plantations, a company managed by Hancock Timber Resource Group on behalf of institutional investors had won the right to grow and harvest the trees. The Crown plantation land on which the majority of the business sits will remain in Government-ownership. The sale includes around 35,000 hectares of freehold land, which is about 10% of the total estate.

    Hancock Timber Resource Group manages more than two million hectares of timberlands worth approximately $8.5 billion (US) across the United States, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

    Hancock Timber Resource Group has grown its Victorian business by 45% since acquiring it in 1998, while continued investment in New Zealand has seen that business grow from 38,000 hectares to 267,000 hectares.

    “As promised, we have secured the same access rights for the public as they currently enjoy now – which means walking, cycling, horse riding, motorcycling, car rallies, photography and other similar pursuits in State Plantation Forests will continue.

    Mr Fraser said that the Government remains committed to the South-East Queensland Forestry Agreement, including ensuring that the 20,000 hectares of hardwood plantations are established by 2025.

    Mr Fraser said this was a major milestone in the Government’s economic reform agenda.

    “Only by making the tough decisions and having the courage to implement them, can you build a stronger economy.

    “We are committed to ‘staying the course’ in the best interests of Queensland.”

    Update on the status of the other four businesses:
    QR National IPO is on track for ASX listing in the fourth quarter of 2010.

    PORT OF BRISBANE
    The process to lease the Port of Brisbane has begun. This was announced on April 22. It is expected to see the transaction finalised by the end of the year, subject to market conditions.

    ABBOT POINT
    The process to lease Abbot Point Coal Terminal will start in the last quarter of 2010, subject to market conditions.

    QML.
    The process to lease the motorway network remains on track to be completed by the end of 2011, subject to market conditions. This allows for the completion of the Gateway Upgrade Project.


    Media contacts: Treasurer’s Office – 3224 5982 or 3224 6361