Premier admits to not knowing impacts of port sale

THE Premier has admitted he does not know what impact selling the Port of Gladstone will have.

Campbell Newman took to the airwaves on Thursday to further push the need to sell assets in order to pay for projects that communities across the state say they need.

"Well I do not know how selling a long-term lease for the Port of Gladstone or Townsville will actually have a direct impact on the everyday lives of Queenslanders," he said.

"You can put in place protections about the charges the ports can levy and have regulatory oversight."

Gladstone leaders told Treasurer Tim Nicholls they did not want to see the port privatised.

The comments came during a round-table meeting with the Treasurer on Wednesday.

Mr Newman said the government could not deliver those projects unless the state's debt was reduced.

"We have $80 billion worth of debt left by the former government and I know some people do not like me reminding them of that," he said.

"The bottom line is it is $80 billion of Labor debt and while we have almost balanced the books, and that will be a reality in the next two financial years, we have still got this black cloud of debt.

"What we want to do is have a conversation with Queenslanders, and the Treasurer is leading that."

Mr Newman said the government could not borrow any more money to build the infrastructure communities across the state were crying out for.

"There are three options we have got because we cannot borrow any more money to build the hospitals, schools, sport stadiums and convention centres Queensland needs in the next 20 to 30 years," he said.

"We can either cut services elsewhere and have the money go into funding those things, we can put up taxes and charges - and we know Mr Battams from the Queensland Council of Unions, who is also a senior Labor figure, advocates for that - and (there's) the third option, which is to sell some assets and reinvest those proceeds into the things I just mentioned, building Queensland.

"That is the conversation we are having this year and we want Queenslanders to be a part of that conversation."

Mr Newman said one thing he would not do is sell any assets without going to an election.

"So let us have that conversation and let us have that debate," he said.

"Let us hear about the things this state needs, like the new roads, bridges, hospitals, schools and the enhancement to community facilities.

"Let us have that conversation and then talk about how we actually fund those things."

Mr Newman said it was no secret the asset sales agenda had been a hot topic of discussion internally within the government.



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