Queensland’s Future Fund will deliver tough new anti‑privatisation protections to ensure Queensland’s strategic assets are kept in public hands, as part of the Palaszczuk Government’s plan to reduce debt and recover from the economic damage wrought worldwide by COVID-19.
Treasurer Cameron Dick said that Treasury had identified opportunities for the Fund to hold non‑cash investments such as the Queensland Government’s equity stake in Virgin Australia, commercial land and unregulated infrastructure.
“Importantly, strategic assets such as commercial power or water infrastructure will be put into this ‘locked box’ to protect them from being privatised by the LNP,” he said.
“The inclusion of an anti-privatisation locked box removes the risk of the LNP trying to justify a sell-off of assets that are already helping the state set off its net debt position.
“Assets placed in the Fund that are deemed to be strategic assets will be placed in a unit trust and, by law, can only be sold or traded with other State Government entities.
“Queenslanders can rest easy knowing that there will be no benefit from privatising these strategic assets, and that they will be protected by law.”
“Now, more than ever, as we deliver our plan to Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs, we must protect our assets and get them working hard for Queensland’s future.
The Queensland Future Fund was announced as part of the Mid-Year Fiscal and Economic and Review (MYFER) in December 2019, to be seeded with surplus funds from the defined benefit fund.
The Treasurer also confirmed the defined benefit fund is still in surplus, despite harsh global economic conditions due to COVID19.
“By vesting a prudent proportion of that surplus into the Future Fund, we can free up borrowing capacity to invest in job creating infrastructure to support our economic recovery,” he said.
“This locked box mechanism will ensure that the LNP can’t privatise assets by stealth, such as when they used the Queensland Investment Corporation to flog off Queensland Motorways in 2014 with no public oversight.
“Under our locked box arrangements, that kind of trade could only occur between Queensland Government entities.
“Regional jobs will also be protected with service level agreements put in place to ensure that there is no impact on any employees who work on these assets.
“Queenslanders know that only a Labor Government can be trusted to keep strategic assets in State hands, and this this arrangement will make it much harder for the LNP to undertake a sneaky sell-off.”