MP opposes port sale if income is to improve from rail plan
MEMBER for Gladstone Liz Cunningham says the Port of Gladstone shouldn't be sold - or leased - if its income is to improve from the Queensland Government's priority plans for an inland rail route from Toowoomba to Gladstone.
Mrs Cunningham appealed to the Treasurer by asking whether the train line's benefit to the state and nation added weight to the local community's views that the port was not only intrinsically linked to the community, but should remain in public ownership as an improving income stream.
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney told Parliament this week the proposed rail line's completion would link the Surat Basin and allow for export of significant volumes of coal through Gladstone.
At the same time, the government is figuring out how to reduce $80billion in debt and although it has made no decisions on the sale or lease of the Port of Gladstone, selling state assets are one of the three choices Treasurer Tim Nicholls believes he has.
He said the attachment and pride Gladstone people had to the port was evident, and the government was aware of the value the port had to the state's economy and the improvements necessary to grow the port and other expansion options.
"There are three choices... and I put them to every meeting and no-one has come up with a fourth - although the people of Gladstone did try," he said.