Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls delivering the mid-year economic an fiscal review on Wednesday, December 18, 2013.
Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls delivering the mid-year economic an fiscal review on Wednesday, December 18, 2013. Adam Davies

Queensland Treasurer paves way for asset sales

QUEENSLAND Treasurer Tim Nicholls has further paved the way for a government drowning in debt to seek an asset sale mandate at the next state election.

Mr Nicholls was upbeat on Wednesday when delivering the mid-year economic and fiscal review into the state's finances.

However, he warned alternate ways needed to be explored to bring down the state's debt, which currently stands at $76.97 billion if the state wanted to return to an AAA credit rating.

"We saw with the release of the Federal Government's mid-year budget update just what happens when the Labor government runs out of control," he said.

"With the Queensland mid-year budget update we are showing the sort of discipline that eludes Labor in government and certainly eluded Labor in Queensland."

Mr Nicholls said the update showed costs are holding pretty true to the budget forecasts despite a revised budget deficit of $660 million, up from a forecasted $240 million in June.

"The $7.5 billion in savings that we put into place in our first budget is now being delivered," he said.

"Our expenses are moving into line with our revenue.

"We are starting to get our operating statement back onto a level keel."

Mr Nicholls said there was still a lot of work to do despite the state's debt level being $1.16 billion better off than forecasted in the June budget and $5.32 billion better than the Commission of Audit report predicted.

"A lot of the discipline and planned approaches that we have shown over the past 18 months are now paying off," he said.

"Careful economic management means the budget position is now fairly stable.

"The one thing that still remains to be dealt with in Queensland from a state's finance prospective is the black cloud of debt we are heading towards.

"We have reduced to some extent the future debt that was predicted to occur, but we still have a mountain of debt that is slowing down the economic prosperity of Queensland."

Mr Nicholls said the government had reigned in wasteful spending and forecasted the state's economy to grow annually by 3% over the next two years rising to 6% in 2015-16.



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