Friday, 20 November 2009

Sydney University report rubbish QLD asset sales

Bligh's $15 billion asset sale plans has "no credibility, could cost millions and is based on poor economic advice and manipulated Treasury figures," says a union-commission report, by Sydney University Professor Bob Walker.

"It would be fundamentally foolish," Walker says who co-wrote the paper with his wife, Betty Con-Walker, a former NSW Treasury boss, reports the Courier Mail.

They say the strategy is a "magic pudding" which could somehow reduce debt and build infrastructure with the same money, and also claims the Government manipulated figures to provide an economic picture that was far worse than in reality.

"It was this trashing of the finances that played a large part in the credit downgrade by Standard and Poor's that will cost the state millions," Walker says in the report. "Despite gloomy claims in the most recent Budget, the State actually recorded a cash flow surplus of $3.57 billion. Queensland's finances were substantially better off than presented."

"While at first glance these Budget deficits appear alarming, particularly the deficit of 2008-09, the major components were write downs that simply reflect the short-term deterioration in asset values."

Walker exposes how the Queensland Government had broken standard accounting rules to make the economic outlook look worse than it was. "Had the Budget accounting been done correctly, the $88 million deficit in the last Budget would have turned into a healthy surplus."

The Courier Mail reports that the authors say there are 10 misleading claims made by the Government to support the need for privatisation.

"They include claims of a $15 billion black hole, that the assets targeted for sale would cost $12 billion in capital investment if not sold, proceeds of the sale would fund infrastructure and pay debt, the downgrading of the credit rating would cost $200 million, the sell-off would save $750 million, a year in interest repayments and $30 billion in total.

"None of these claims can be taken seriously," Professor Walker says.

"Treasurer Andrew Fraser's claim that Queensland would have to pay an extra $200 million in interest because of the Standard and Poor's downgrade was wrong and the real cost was likely to be between $833,000 and $2.5 million," Walker wrote. "It is unfortunate that these exaggerated claims insult the intelligence of MPs and their constituents."


nocturnal congress said...

Stuey Traill looks better and better.

taxman said...

Disgraceful. The Bligh government got in on more empty promises than we as a state have ever seen. Now an independent study by NSW academics reveals this...
I can still hear Anna Bligh singing on Mackenzie 'Bligh the builder can we fix it yes we can'. Bloody hell 'fix' the election, yes, better than any bunch of professional crooks could ever hope to get away with.
Now we find out they've been 'fixing' the books as well.
This is starting to look like something which could see Bligh end up going the same way of Nuttall. Meanwhile, just like a good old Storm scam, we the people of Cairns end up the victims.

Bert said...

a union-commission report, by Sydney University Professor Bob Walker said that Anna Bligh and her MP's have mixed up a load od rubbish. He went on to say that"It is unfortunate that these exaggerated claims insult the intelligence of MPs and their constituents.". Hey Bob, you take poetic licence when you say that MP's are intelligent!