Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls
Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls Luka Kauzlaric

Lease money will fund "cost of living"

EXTRA money raised leasing Queensland Government assets will go towards a new "cost of living" fund.

The LNP has voted to seek a mandate at next year's state election to lease electricity generators Stanwell and CS Energy, and electricity transmitters Energex, Ergon and Powerlink.

Treasurer Tim Nicholls said the plan, which is emblazoned with "No Asset Sales" on the front cover, would raise $37 billion.

He said the money - more than they expected with the original plan to sell assets - would be used to pay off state debt, fund infrastructure projects and placed in a cost of living fund.

Describing the announcement as "momentous and historic", Premier Campbell Newman said lease conditions would ensure regional electricity customers paid the same as metropolitan customers would remain.

"One of the principals we are quite happy to talk about today is that the uniform tariff policy for electricity prices remains in Queensland. That will be a condition of the leasing process," he said.

However, Electrical Trade Union secretary Peter Simpson said long term leasing was no different to selling the assets off.

He said the plan would hurt regional Queenslanders.

"I'd ask people in regional towns to look at what happened to Queensland Rail jobs and workshops when they were privatised," he said.

"They don't exist anymore. Jobs will be lost, and apprenticeships will go."

Dubbing the move a "Brisbane-centric attack on regional Queensland" Mr Simpson said the union had the support of rural Queenslanders.

"We've got the support of farmers on this. Farmers and unions aren't normally together on much, but they get it," he said.

Mr Nicholls said the conditions on the sale meant the government could strip an asset lease if there was a "major breach" such as job cuts.

- APN NEWSDESK



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