Labor candidate for Ipswich West Jim Madden.
Labor candidate for Ipswich West Jim Madden. David Nielsen

Choat is Newman's asset salesman in Ipswich, says Madden

OPPONENTS of asset sales have hit back at Ipswich West MP Sean Choat, labelling his stance in support of the lease of the state's electricity assets as "gutless" and a betrayal of the community.

Mr Choat had previously said he would cross the floor if the LNP sold assets.

But this week Mr Choat endorsed the LNP's decision to lease the 'poles and wires' maintained by state-owned electricity networks Ergon, Energex and Powerlink to private companies for up to 50 to 99 years.

Mr Choat said this week that he was happy with the government's decision and that "people tell me they're happy with a lease".

Electrical Trades Union (ETU) organiser Stuart Traill told the QT the plan would see profits go to private entities, likely off shore, instead of into state revenue. He pointed to the example of South Australia where, after a lease, electricity prices soared.

Mr Traill's views are supported by Labor candidate for Ipswich West Jim Madden and Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller, both of whom slammed Mr Choat's stance.

Mr Madden said Mr Choat was "Campbell Newman's asset salesman in Ipswich West".

"The families, seniors and workers of Ipswich West have every right to feel greatly betrayed by Sean Choat," Mr Madden said.

"He has declared that he is 'relieved' at not having to stand up for our community.

"Under Mr Choat, Ipswich West has one of the highest unemployment rates in Queensland, and even worse is youth unemployment.

"Going back on his word on asset sales is one thing, but endorsing a plan that will mean even higher power prices for families and more job losses is a shameful new low.

"It shows how out of touch he really is with the reality faced by local families doing it tough."

Mr Madden said he would never sell out the community.

"I will stand up and fight the LNP's asset sales and privatisation plans," he said.

Mrs Miller warned that "Campbell's crazy bargain sale will have big business buying now and mums and dads paying later".

"It'll be five-year interest-free terms for business but ordinary Queenslanders will be paying through the nose for electricity prices on already stretched household budgets," she said.

"This LNP plan...short-changes Queenslanders and is a recipe for more job cuts, more service cuts and higher cost of living.

"Despite his previous fiery public statements, the gutless Mr Choat went to water and now totally supports asset sales, claiming 50-year leases with a 49-year extension are somehow different from a sale. Tim Nicholls himself said a 99-year lease is as good as selling the farm."



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