Opposition slams sell-off of Brisbane CBD buildings
LABOR has slammed the sell-off of State Government buildings, saying Campbell Newman had broken a promise to go to the people before more asset sales.
But Treasurer Tim Nicholls said the sale of seven office buildings in the Brisbane CBD would help pay down close to half a billion dollars in debt left by Labor.
Mr Nicholls said the seven buildings had been bought by assorted funds managed by the Queensland Investment Corporation for a total of $561.9 million.
The buildings represent about seven per cent of all office space in the Brisbane CBD.
"The Government will lease back the buildings for periods of between four and 15 years," Mr Nicholls said.
"For the government it means the financial risk associated with owning these office buildings is removed.
"At the same time we've negotiated set lease costs with fixed rent increases built in so we're getting certainty around the costs of our office accommodation into the future.
"It means we can focus on providing more and better services for Queensland families rather than concentrating on the running and maintenance of old and rundown office accommodation.
"We estimate that by using these funds to pay down that debt we'll save Queenslanders around $130 million in interest payments.
The buildings being sold off
David Longland Building, 63 George Street
Education House, 54 Mary Street
61 Mary Street
Primary Industries Building, 62 - 80 Ann Street
111 George Street
33 Charlotte Street
Mineral House, 41 George Street
Opposition calls for more detail over asset sales
Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the announcement came as the government geared up to undertake mass asset sales as recommended in the audit it had paid LNP mate Peter Costello to prepare.
"Queenslanders should never forget that it was Peter Costello who sold off $72 billion in assets when he controlled the books in the Howard government," Mr Pitt said.
"That's what he wants for Queensland and Campbell Newman and Tim Nicholls will very shortly announce that they are taking his recommendations on board - and nothing is sacred.
"The Premier said he would go to the public for a mandate before any state asset went on the market - but this morning's announcement shows yet another broken promise.
"The Treasurer would also have Queenslanders believe that this was a necessary move to pay down debt but the simple fact is that within the space of a year this government has managed to slow the economy by randomly sacking 14,000 people.
Mr Pitt said the LNP's sale of government office buildings would cost Queenslanders more over the long-term.
"There has also been no guarantee that these buildings will not be on sold by QIC to the private sector with minimal public scrutiny or accountability.
"No detail has been released of which buildings are being leased for a period of only four years.
"Even if the Government's plan is to then transfer staff to their costly new palace at 1 William St this could mean that the QIC could then on-sell these buildings with minimal public scrutiny.
"The Government have not released any information on what financial arrangements have been made with QIC and I call on the Treasurer to release that detail today."