Friday 30 October 2009

A letter from Anna

The Queensland Government is selling off the following assets:

  • Forestry Plantations Queensland
  • Port of Brisbane
  • Queensland Motorways Limited
  • Abbot Point Coal Terminal, near Bowen
  • Queensland Rail’s coal transport business and assets, also looking at other commercial parts of QR

They've blamed the sale on the "worst global recession in 70 years" which the Bligh Government say has reduced Queensland’s income by $15 billion over four years. However the debt situation had nothing to do with the so-called recession. The $74 billion Queensland is in debt, is more than all the other States put together.

Here's Opposition leader John-Paul Langbroek open letter to Bligh:

  • "When readers opened the newspaper yesterday to find Premier Anna Bligh's personal explanation of why the State Government is about to sell-off Queensland's assets, they had every right to ask why she failed to put pen to paper, only eight months ago, to outline her case for privatisation ahead of the state election.

    After all, it was known then that Queensland had lost its cherished AAA credit rating; it was known then that Queensland was in record debt; and it was known then that our economic bottom line had been hit by a downturn, coupled with the Government's failure to bank money in the boom times to help get through the tough times.

    But the Government assured Queenslanders its policies were all fully costed with not so much as a hint that assets would go in a fire-sale. The Premier claims she has to make tough decisions. But leadership isn't about being tough; it's about being tough and honest. Privatisation in Queensland isn't just an economic debate. It is also a truth debate and the two issues cannot be separated.

    Taxpayers own these assets and are therefore the shareholders. In any model business, a board and its chairperson who offer themselves for re-election, in this case the Government and the Premier, have a corporate duty to provide shareholders upfront with honest financial data and honest financial plans before any ballot. Before more privatisation, sound economic debate surely demands frank analysis of the consequences of recent State Government decisions to privatise other assets.

    The Premier points to a decision, 17 years ago, by the federal government to sell Qantas as a model for privatisation.

    She does not point to the more appropriate comparison that would be how the State Government privatised the retail arms of Energex and Ergon in 2006, overseen by Bligh while she was Treasurer, and the consequent skyrocketing electricity bills.
    No one argues that Queensland has a real problem with debt; it's a problem compounded by the loss of the AAA credit rating.

    Budget projections show the Government does not plan to stop borrowing until at least 2017. By that date, even with asset fire-sales, Queensland's public debt will be more than $100 billion; approaching 50 per cent of Queensland's gross domestic product. Management of this debt is Queensland's greatest economic challenge. That debt took eight years to accrue, but in reasonable terms, even if we started today, it would take about 35 years to pay it all off.

    That is the legacy this Government has left children from the boom years. If we sell the five assets Bligh has identified, and sell them at market bottom prices as proposed, the expected return is about $15 billion. However, those five assets currently return a solid income stream through tax-equivalent payments, dividends and commercial interest rates above the borrowing rate of Queensland Treasury Corporation.

    Should we not be harnessing those assets, rather than throwing them away, to help pay off Labor's debt? The issue is not one of privatisation; it is one of debt. The fact is, the sale of these assets will not solve Queensland's debt problem.

Now this letter will interest you. Here's a letter from Premier Anna Bligh, sent just before the last State election to the Hermit Park Branch from the Labor Party.

What part of "no intention to privatise" did she not mean? And you wonder why her own Party is standing up to these lies.


Steven Nowakowski said...

Letters should be dated otherwise they are not recognised as official. This letter is not dated.?

Thomas Underwood said...

Steven, unlike you I am not concerned about whether a letter is dated or not, I trust the veracity of Cairns Blog.
However, I would be interested to know your views on the matters raised therein, or are you a disguised Labor Party apparatchik?

Steven Nowakowski said...

Hi Thomas,

Anna Bligh has lied and lied. I have never trusted Labor and never will. To sell off our assets will turn us into another failed state like Victoria with all state assets sold off to the highest bidder and citizens having to pay more for basic services.

The cairns Airport has been a classic whereby it was sold and we are all now paying more for parking and the new Cairns Airport owners want increased landing fees whic makes Cairns an unviable destination for carriers.

I'm a little dubious about the autheniticity of this particular letter though.

However, Anna will never be forgotten as the Premier who lied to get back into office.

Thomas Underwood said...

Thank you Steven for your clarity. I can now relax somewhat that you are a person of integrity and not an apologist for a duplicitous party.
Queensland needs a change of administration for the sake of a healthy democracy. Twenty years of one form of administration breeds contempt and arrogance.
I hope that the Greens and other fringe political parties understand the need for the political structure to be revitalised and rejuvenated.
To this end it may be necessary for the Greens to be mature enough to understand the need for change and preference the LNP. After given the opportunity and the LNP do not preform then by all means pull the rug from under their collective feet.
The LNP must be given a chance. Conversely the ALP must be taught a lesson.
Interested to read your views, Steven.

Steven Nowakowski said...

Hi Thomas,

I agree with you wholeheartedly that the ALP have been in power for too long and their arrogance is showing. For any Government to have such a huge majority with no Upper House to temper the extreme policy legislation is far from democratic.

The Greens have in the past kicked out an ALP Government via preferences. The Goss Government was replaced with Borbidge by Green Preferences. Unfortunately Borbidge was even worse than the ALP at the time and I suppose the fear of having another Borbidge style Government terrifies most Greens.

If the LNP can prove they’re a real progressive party then there is no reason why the Greens cannot seriously consider the LNP as a viable alternative to the dictatorial ALP.

KitchenSlut said...

Victoria is a 'failed state'? Are you sure you're not getting confused with North Korea?