Statement on asset sales
I’ve done this as a press release. See if anyone bites
The government’s announced plans for privatisation show that Queenslanders are unlikely to get a good deal from the proposed asset sales, according to Professor John Quiggin of the University of Queensland. Professor Quiggin was one of a group of 21 leading Australian economists who stated in November that the government had failed to put forward a serious case for privatisation, and that an informed public debate was urgently needed.
Professor Quiggin stated:
* The use of a 99-year lease rather than an outright sale is a device commonly used by governments seeking to make privatisation palatable, but one that makes no commercial sense for assets of this kind. The public loses the asset just as surely as if it had been sold, but gets a lower price because the buyer does not become an outright owner
* The proposed public float of the QR coal and freight business, with the government retaining a minority shareholding large enough to retain effective control makes sense only on the assumption that no trade buyers were willing to pay an effective price. Purchase of shares in such a float would make sense only if they are offered at a substantial discount, meaning that the people of Queensland will almost certainly receive an inadequate price for this asset. The giveaway of shares to employees is typical of the cosmetics used by governments in packaging unsound and unpopular privatisations.
The entire privatisation scheme should be scrapped, and debate over the the desirability of asset sales, and the way to generate the best value for the public should be started from scratch