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Government douses concerns port sale will be a rush job

THE State Government has moved to hose down concerns the potential sale of Gladstone Port could be rushed through with little to no consultation with the people of Gladstone.

Earlier this month the department of the treasurer knocked back an invitation from the Gladstone Regional Council to discuss the potential impacts the sale could have.

The investigation into the sale of the port is currently in a scoping stage with JP Morgan, which means the State Government is currently trying to figure out exactly what the sale of the port could bring to state coffers.

"Given that the scoping study is yet to be finalised and the government has not considered the recommendations of the scoping study, the Treasurer declined your request for a meeting at this time," the treasurer's chief of staff Gerard Benedet wrote to the council.

However, with the State Government outlining an end-of-February deadline for the scoping study to be done, the focus is now turning to the next steps in the process.

In response to questions posed by The Observer, a spokesperson for the Treasurer Tim Nicholls said it had not yet worked out what would happen in the event it decided to sell off the port, given it had not yet digested the scoping study.

However, the spokesperson stressed the community of Gladstone would be consulted if the government elected to go down that route.

"We expect the scoping studies to be completed shortly and the government will need to consider what the studies have found before embarking upon a broad consultation process across the state and listening to what Queenslanders have to say, which will include the people of Gladstone and the Gladstone council," they said.

When previously questioned by The Observer, Mr Nicholls could not guarantee no jobs would be lost as part of any privatisation process.

A Gladstone MP has said she did not believe many residents would support the sale.

Timeline

  • April 30, 2013 - State commission of audit wrapped up
  • December 13, 2013 - State commissions scoping study into selling the port
  • December 20, 2013 - State appoints JP Morgan to conduct study
  • End of February, 2014 - Scoping study due to be handed to State Government

Topics:  asset sale gladstone port gladstone ports corporation gladstone regional council queensland government



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