The Queensland government is schizophrenic.
It campaigned last election against asset sales, promising no increase in debt or taxes, yet every proposal to accelerate the Queensland economy involves at least one of these.
The latest is the redevelopment, and presumably sale, of government-owned land in Rockhampton and Townsville.
I have no quibble with its conversion to privatisation, but now they have seen sense, they need to approach it logically.
The evidence from their handling of the Logan Renewal Initiative is not encouraging.
This was a project that, over the next 20 years, would have turned $300 m of government-owned assets (of which $12.9m was cash) into $1 bn.
This is achieved by turning the whole Department of Housing and Public Works portfolio in Logan over to a not-for-profit consortium for 20 years. They manage the portfolio, replace 1,049 of the existing dwellings with new ones, and build another 1,565 of which 800 are either social housing or affordable rent.
The balance is sold off, providing the cash to renovate and expand the existing stock.
The federal government will also contribute $420m.
This was a project a long time in the baking, having been originally started under the Bligh government. It is not conceptually difficult, and is similar to projects being undertaken in other states, including Labor-governed ones like South Australia.
Yet somewhere around 5 years after the project was initially conceived, and with some contracts already entered into, this government has canned the project.
Instead they intend to spend $17m over the next 4 years building 70 houses. That’s roughly 18 a year versus 146 dwellings, just in the first two years of the proposed Logan Redevelopment Initiative.
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