News State QLD News Redcliffe to vote on asset sales: unions

Redcliffe to vote on asset sales: unions

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Next year’s by-election in Redcliffe will be a referendum on asset sales, the electricity union says.

The premier and treasurer this week ramped up efforts to seek public support to sell power generators and the Queensland Investment Corporation, but still promise not to offload assets without a mandate.

The Electrical Trades Union says Ergon Energy already has plans to siphon off 3700 hardwood forests and its IT business ROAMES, which manages overhead powerlines.

The deals could reap more than $50 million.

ETU state secretary Peter Simpson says privatisation is already occurring by stealth and vowed to turn the by-election into a vote on asset sales.

“The LNP have proved they can’t be trusted, they are compulsive liars,” he said.

“Premier, you have already betrayed them, and the people of Redcliffe will get their chance to pass justice in the by-election.”

Treasurer Tim Nicholls says the government is still weighing up the pros and cons of asset sales.

He couldn’t guarantee that rising electricity prices would be alleviated if the generators are sold.

“Ownership of those assets have made very little difference to the price,” he told ABC Radio.

“Governments, where they have been able to make any impact, have only been able to do that by running them efficiently, and we know they are most efficiently run in the private sector.”

The Queensland Council of Unions (QCU) says the opposite is true.

President John Battams says it’s been shown elsewhere in Australia that privatisation leads to higher costs to consumers.

“Costs have already gone through the roof, if they proceed with this move to privatise their electricity assets Queenslanders will be looking at much higher bills into the future,” he told ABC Radio.

The seat of Redcliffe, north of Brisbane, was vacated by LNP-turned-independent Scott Driscoll last month after he was found in contempt of parliament over his business dealings.