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Gladstone port to be leased if LNP wins next election

THE PORT of Gladstone will be leased if the LNP makes it through the next election, after 46% of Queenslanders voted for asset sales to reduce debt.

State Treasurer Tim Nicholls said two of the three ports controlled by the Gladstone Ports Corporation would be put on a long-term lease, but the lease wouldn't start until after the next election.

He said the government wouldn't disclose the scoping study into the port's worth, as it was in commercial confidence.

As part of the government's plan, the RG Tanna Coal Terminal would undergo a $90.5 million upgrade, with $50.6 million from the State Budget.

Speaking with The Observer on Tuesday, Mr Nicholls said the state had to deal with an $80 billion debt problem, and as part of the Strong Choices campaign he believed the asset transactions could potentially deliver $33.6 billion.

This was "enough to return state debt to more sustainable levels and invest in vital infrastructure".

"We've spoken to 70,000 people and we won't do this unless you vote for that policy at the next election," he said.

"We didn't want to increase taxes or reduce services like health or education, which is important for regional areas.

"Queensland understands there's no easy choices, but we're going to get value for the port."

He said the numbers from the Strong Choices consultation showed 46% of submissions preferred selling or leasing assets.

"We're also asking people to revisit the Strong Choices website to tell us how the proceeds of the sales can be spent in your region," he said.

Topics:  asset sales, gladstone harbour, port of gladstone, queensland budget, tim nicholls



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