Former Queensland Premier Peter Beattie is right to recommend the leasing out of State-owned assets, as reported in the Australian today (see Beattie sees the light on leases, which is behind the paywall). But unfortunately he is over a year late in offering this advice, as the current Government was elected on a platform of total opposition to privatisation. It would have been good if the former Premier could have persuaded the then Opposition to have been less ideological on the issue in the lead up to the 2015 election.
For several years on this blog, I have argued that privatisation of state-owned assets would benefit Queenslanders through the more efficient operation of the assets by the private sector (e.g. see my Productivity and Privatisation speech from 2014). I have also discussed the desirability of regaining our AAA credit rating through paying off a large chunk of our $80 billion of borrowings with privatisation proceeds. And I have noted that, without the proceeds the previous Government would have had from asset leases, the current Government has insufficient money in the forward estimates to fund the level of infrastructure spending that is likely desirable (e.g. see New Qld Government faces big fiscal challenges). Beattie is absolutely correct, but, alas, his words have come too late to make a difference I suspect.
Former Qld Premier Peter Beattie