The Opposition has compared the Palaszczuk Government to former premier Anna Bligh’s “failed” administration during a heated debate over asset sales.
Question time was dominated by asset sales, after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk last week announced the State Government would sell off publicly owned land to encourage urban renewal in cities across Queensland.
But Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls claimed the policy was a broken promise from Labor and he tried to draw the link between Ms Palaszczuk and Ms Bligh – who led the state between 2007 and 2012.
“Before 2009 election campaign Anna Bligh and Andrew Fraser deceived Queenslanders and promised not to sell state assets and then did so,” he said.
“Before the 2015 campaign, the Premier and Treasurer promised not to sell assets and are now planning on doing so.” “How is the Premier’s Government any different from the failed Bligh-Fraser Government?” Ms Bligh ruled out considering privatisations before the 2009 election and after Labor was re-elected the Government moved to sell Queensland Rail’s freight business – now called Aurizon after listing on the stock exchange – along with the state’s forestry assets, putting Queensland Motorways out on a long-term lease and offloading the Brisbane and Abbot Point ports.
Queenslanders registered their displeasure about selling state assets at the ballot box, with the Bligh Government decimated at the 2012 election – reduced to just seven MPs out of the 89-seat parliament.
But Ms Palaszczuk rejected the claim and pointed out that the former LNP Government took a $37 billion privatisation package to the last election.
“The person who is now the leader of the Opposition was the architect of the plan to sell off $37 billion worth of assets,” she said.
“We have heard rumours that they are talking about either a 50-year lease on our energy companies or our ports, or perhaps selling a 50 per cent stake in them.” Ms Palaszczuk defended the land sales policy because it would create jobs for Queenslanders by partnering with the private sector and local councils to deliver urban renewal projects.
But Mr Nicholls said Ms Palaszczuk had changed the rules about what constitutes a privatisation in a move to justify the land sales policy.
“The Premier has repeatedly tried to claim her Government would not sell assets, even attempting to change the definition to income-producing assets after the election,” he said.
A Government spokesman said Labor’s pre-election policy was to not sell “income-producing assets”.
Source: Courier Mail