Queensland Motorways to be sold off by QIC
Queensland Motorways will be auctioned off by the Queensland Investment Corporation.
Treasurer Tim Nicholls had said on Thursday there were no plans to sell the state-backed investment fund QIC, but chief executive Damian Frawley said on Friday they would auction off the road toll division, believed to be worth more than $5 billion.
The government-owned corporation will continue to manage money on behalf of numerous public and private-sector pension funds.
Mr Frawley said there had been significant interest in 100 per cent ownership of Queensland Motorways from domestic and international investors.
"Conducting a traditional auction process is in the best interests of maximising the return to Queensland's Defined Benefit Fund, which holds the Queensland Motorways investment," he said.
Queensland Motorways manages five motorways including the Gateway, Logan motorways, Legacy Way, the Go Between Bridge and the CLEM7 tunnel.
The Newman government has promised not to proceed with any asset sale without a mandate, but has ordered scoping studies into the sale of power generators CS Energy and Stanwell and the lease of Townsville and Gladstone ports.
Premier Campbell Newman has hosed down suggestions he might be eyeing an early election to boost the books sooner. But he said the government still had a lot of work to do to deal with the former Labor government's legacy of debt.
"We intend to go full term in Queensland," he said.
Big business is keen to buy Queensland's electricity generators, but small business is wary, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland says.
Chamber of Commerce general manager Nick Behrens says there is an equally strong investor appetite for both, but small business is yet to be convinced.
They want to know if the sale of generators will push up power prices, which are already tipped to increase about 13 per cent next year if the carbon tax is not repealed.
"Chamber of Commerce has called on the scoping studies to also examine outcomes in the area of price and service to ensure they are not compromised should these assets be sold," Mr Behrens says.
Private companies that invest would borrow at a higher rate than the government, prompting unions and the opposition to claim Queenslanders will pay more for electricity.
"It is going to mean higher infrastructure costs," shadow treasurer Curtis Pitt said.
"Electricity consumers will have to pay for the higher cost of borrowing for the private sector."