Business

Community to miss out from Gladstone Ports' new debt

Gladstone Ports Corporation will be dumped a share of $1 billion of Queensland Government debt.
Gladstone Ports Corporation will be dumped a share of $1 billion of Queensland Government debt. Jen Tybell

UPDATE 10.15am:

THE Gladstone Community will be the losers out of the debt shift from Queensland Government to Gladstone Ports Corporation according to mayor Gail Seller.

Yesterday, Queensland treasurer Curtis Pitt announced GPC would share a $1 billion debt with North Queensland Bulk Ports, SunWater and a $150 million dividend from Stanwell a decision Cr Sellers said would result in GPC not investing in the community.

"There won't be money available to do extra things for the community," she said.

"(GPC) will be looking at the $1 billion worth of debt.

"The port will need to look at costs and every cent they spend and it may result in extra things for the community not happening."

Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd said the state had to control cost or raise revenue without increasing taxes in order to lower debt.

"(But) killing the hen that lays the golden egg is not always the smartest move," he said.

"In the past, we have seen this government hit Ergon and Energex by approximately $1.8 billion, to simply have these costs and charges passed onto consumers."

Since July 1 GPC has contributed to more than 15 community initiatives.

These include:

  • Capricorn Film Festival
  • Rockhampton Art Gallery exhibition
  • Burnett Heads Lighthouse Festival 2015
  • St Jospeh's Catholic Primary School Environment Calendar
  • CQUniversity Gladstone Ports Corporation Academic Prizes
  • Gladstone Men's Shed Early Childhood Services Project
  • GPC Bursary Program - 26 schools in Bundaberg, Gladstone and Rockhampton
  • Industries of Gladstone Challenge 2015
  • Gladstone and District Wildlife Carers donation to purchase equipment
  • Martin Hanson Memorial Art awards
  • Movember Foundation fundraiser
  • Annual Christmas donation
  • Port of Bundaberg Shorebird Monitoring Program
  • Reef Check Foundation community program
  • Talent Today, Talent Tomorrow Indigenous Bursary and Scholarship Program

 

EARLIER 6am:

GLADSTONE will once again shoulder the rest of Queensland with Treasurer Curtis Pitt announcing yesterday the region's ports would be handed a share of $1 billion of state debt.

Gladstone Ports Corporation chairman Leo Zussino experienced a similar arrangement when he was chief executive of the GPC and said it didn't impede the corporation's development.

The debt shift to Gladstone Ports Corporation, which returned a dividend of $54.4 million to the State Government last financial year, will share that burden with North Queensland Bulk Ports, SunWater and a $150 million dividend from Stanwell.

Mr Pitt's Mid Year Fiscal and Economic Review released yesterday explained the general government sector debt would be $10.6 billion lower in 2017-18 because of the debt transfer but did not explain how that $1 billion would be divided.

But it did state international auditor KPMG's independent advice was that the debt transfers would enable the corporations to use their money in a more commercial way.

At the start of Mr Zussino's 13 years as CEO in 2000, the state and the GPC had a $90 million debt for equity trade.

At that time it was a "significant impost" when the port was handling 42 million tonnes per annum of trade compared to 115mtpa this year.

"The number of wharves has doubled since then and the $40 billion resource development and all the infrastructure has been provided by that government," Mr Zussino said

"When money is required to develop, money is provided. When RG Tanna Coal Terminal was expanded in 2004-2007 there was a significant equity injection into the port."

After speaking to the Treasury Department, Gladstone member Glenn Butcher was confident that would continue.

"Where appropriate... new capital will be made available for expansions," he said.

The review did show the construction of the Gladstone Hospital's Emergency Department would start in 2016.

Debt Action Plan

  • $1 billion debt to GPC NQBP and SunWater
  • Expected to reduce general government debt by $10.6 billion by 2012-17

Topics:  budget, debt, gladstone, gladstone ports corporation, government, queensland government



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