Campbell Newman says he is keen to keep electricity assets in state hands.
Campbell Newman says he is keen to keep electricity assets in state hands.

Newman says he will oppose electricity, ports sell-off

QUEENSLAND Premier Campbell Newman has publicly declared he is against asset sales as he prepares to release the full Commission of Audit next week.

He has promised he will not sell the Port of Gladstone or any electricity assets without asking Queenslanders for their opinion.

Mr Newman told ABC Brisbane that former Australian Treasurer Peter Costello's 500-plus page report - which will be tabled in parliament on Tuesday - would spark debate over coming months.

He said the document was a comprehensive look at Queensland's public sector which did discuss asset sales but also considered how to make this state the best public service in Australia.

"The Costello report paints the picture, Queenslanders then have to tell us what they think," he said.

"Do we want higher taxes and charges? Do we want ongoing curtailment of expenditure? Do we want to see some asset sales that are acceptable? Do we want a combination of things?

"We can't just put our heads under the pillow and pretend it's going to go away."

Mr Newman said the government would provide its response when it tabled the report next week.

He said power retailers, generators or transmission companies, the Queensland Investment Corporation or the Port of Gladstone were safe unless Queensland agreed.

"We would not do any of that, those asset sales, without going to the electorate," he said told ABC.

"I am like most Queenslanders, in the main quite strongly against it.

"I don't want to see Energex or Ergon or Powerlink sold off, they're monopolies and I think they should be owned by the people."

Mr Newman said he wanted to turn the state around and was currently using Western Australia as his role model.

He said Premier Colin Barnett's administration was performing well and he wanted to not only catch up but "be better than them".

"We want to be in a position in five to six years time where around the nation where people go 'those Queenslanders, they're lucky people'," he said.


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