Merrill, Rothschild, RBS to Advise the State of Queensland on assest Sale

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Offline mr anderson

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Merrill, Rothschild, RBS to Advise Queensland on Sale

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=conewsstory&tkr=MCR:GR&sid=a8wJVS7aH6GI

By Malcolm Scott and Jesse Riseborough


July 22 (Bloomberg) -- Rothschild, Merrill Lynch & Co. and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc have been appointed by Australia’s Queensland state to advise it on asset sales that are expected to reap about A$15 billion ($12.2 billion).

The state, whose economy contracted in the past two quarters, is seeking to sell its entire coal railroad network and two export ports to make up an expected revenue shortfall. The Abbot Point coal terminal, the Port of Brisbane, the state’s coal railroad business and other assets are for sale, Premier Anna Bligh told the state’s parliament last month.

The worst recession since World War II has also prompted Babcock & Brown Infrastructure Group to consider bids for Queensland’s Dalrymple Bay port, the nation’s second-biggest coal export terminal. BHP Billiton Ltd. and Xstrata Plc are among producers in Australia’s biggest coal-shipping state.

“This is about ensuring that the Queensland economy emerges from the current economic conditions in a strong position to drive the future growth and job creation opportunities for both the State and national economies,” Bligh said in an e-mailed statement today naming the advisors.

Queensland, the nation’s third-most populous state, needs to sell the assets to help fill an estimated A$14 billion slump in revenue over the next four years as the recession crimps government earnings. Selling the assets means the state will avoid a further A$12 billion of required investment over the next five years, Bligh said.

Coal Prices

Queensland Rail is Australia’s largest coal transporter, operating 550 coal services a week from 56 mines in two states. It also runs Queensland’s passenger train network. In the 2008 fiscal year, Queensland Rail hauled 184 million metric tons of coal.

Abbot Point, Australia’s northernmost coal port, is located 25 kilometers (16 miles) north of Bowen and has an annual capacity of 25 million tons. The terminal is operated by the Australian coal unit of Xstrata, the world’s biggest exporter of power-station coal. Abbot Point shipped 12.5 million tons of coal and handled 169 ships in the 2008 fiscal year, according to the Ports Corp. of Queensland.

The Port of Brisbane is the nation’s biggest exporter of beef and cotton, handling about half of the country’s exports for both commodities, according to the port’s Web site.

The state is also seeking to sell Queensland Motorways Ltd. and Forest Plantations Queensland, Bligh said last month.

To contact the reporters on this story: Malcolm Scott in Sydney at mscott23@bloomberg.net; Jesse Riseborough in Melbourne at jriseborough@bloomberg.net
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Re: Merrill, Rothschild, RBS to Advise the State of Queensland on assest Sale
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2009, 11:49:57 PM »
The state, whose economy contracted in the past two quarters, is seeking to sell its entire coal railroad network and two export ports to make up an expected revenue shortfall. The Abbot Point coal terminal, the Port of Brisbane, the state’s coal railroad business and other assets are for sale, Premier Anna Bligh told the state’s parliament last month.

Perhaps they figure that nobody will be able to afford to buy coal anyway if the emissions trading scheme goes through.  ;D

Offline mr anderson

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Re: Merrill, Rothschild, RBS to Advise the State of Queensland on assest Sale
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2009, 11:52:43 PM »
Perhaps they figure that nobody will be able to afford to buy coal anyway if the emissions trading scheme goes through.  ;D

The Unions who are genuinely tied to the hip of the current Governing party are steadfastly opposed to this.

On the day of the rally at State Parliament house there was a "computer fault" with a train 1 station away from Central Station which left thousands stranded in the city for hours.

A message perhaps?  ;)
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Re: Merrill, Rothschild, RBS to Advise the State of Queensland on assest Sale
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2009, 06:01:57 PM »
Update on this story:

"THE Queensland Government is refusing to bow to fierce public opposition to its privatisation plans, saying a blow-out in the budget deficit justifies its $16 billion sale of assets."
http://www.theage.com.au/national/queensland-defies-backlash-on-16-billion-assets-selloff-20091204-kb32.html

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Re: Merrill, Rothschild, RBS to Advise the State of Queensland on assest Sale
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2009, 11:46:38 PM »
Sabotage 'not us': unions

MARISSA CALLIGEROS
December 10, 2009 - 8:48AM

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/sabotage-not-us-unions-20091210-kkp0.html


The Rail, Tram and Bus Union has dismissed suggestions sabotage caused a series of major train delays that brought the Citytrain network to its knees in recent weeks, describing it as "absolute nonsense".

The State Government has ordered an urgent review into QR Citytrain's computerised main control room, following a spate of system failures which caused commuter chaos in South-East Queensland during morning and afternoon peak hours.

Computer faults have shut down the Citytrain's main control room three times during afternoon peak hour since October, the last being as recent as Tuesday.

--------------------------------
'Shoddy' maintenance blamed for train delays
'Get off the tracks': QR order to blame for train delays
Peak house chaos at Central Station
--------------------------------

The computer malfunctions switched signals across the network to 'safe' mode, diverting trains to the nearest station and forcing them to stop mid-journey.

Transport Minister Rachel Nolan said the failures were "extraordinary and unprecedented" and warranted a review into safety and security at the main control room.

But RBTU secretary Owen Doogan this morning dismissed allegations of sabotage by workers as "absolute nonsense", saying "bizarre" safety standards introduced by QR were to blame for the delays as they did not allow workers to carry out proper track maintenance checks.

"As I understand there have been some technical issues, but the Government has contacted me to suggest that they certainly don't support that the unions are involved in anything like that," Mr Doogan told brisbanetimes.com.au.

He said workers were not in the business of sabotage or jeopardising passengers' safety.

"As long as QR management continues with the bizarre safety standards that they've introduced, workers will not be able to do their job and therefore train delays will continue. But this has nothing to do with our campaign against privatisation."

Ms Nolan was quick to quash suggestions a co-ordinated union effort was behind deliberate sabotage after more than 1000 rail maintenance workers walked off the job yesterday in protest of the State Government's plan to partially privatise QR.

"We have asked the question of sabotage, but I don't want there to be any suggestion that I am casting a shadow on our workforce," Ms Nolan told ABC Radio this morning.

"We have good people working for us. [But] this is extraordinary and unprecedented, and so I have had my department launch an investigation into it."

While Mr Doogan said the union movement was not behind recent train delays he could not guarantee future industrial action would not affect the Citytrain network.

"There's no planned industrial action at this stage, but we rule nothing out in the future. The campaign will be ongoing," he said.

"We're not in any way out to disadvantage the public that has been giving us the support against the privatisation. And we certainly will be working with the people of Queensland.

"We will continue with a campaign to involve the communities and our members. There will be ongoing rallies and we will be talking with community groups, as we have been doing."

In the meantime, he said, disruptions were more likely to be the result of "ridiculous" safety standards introduced by QR, after management was fined $650,000 in November for failing to meet its workplace health and safety obligations in the deaths of two workers in central Queensland.
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Offline ThomasPaineUSA

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Re: Merrill, Rothschild, RBS to Advise the State of Queensland on assest Sale
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2009, 11:53:31 PM »
Rothschild will advise Queensland to sell its assets to a Rothschild-controlled company.

Offline Ragdata

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Re: Merrill, Rothschild, RBS to Advise the State of Queensland on assest Sale
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2009, 12:20:31 AM »
I've long been wondering whether the "fire sale" of Queensland assets is an admission by the Bligh government that the Carbon Taxes required to offset our coal transport infrastructure would be more than the state could bear - and whether the immediacy of the sale (reduced from a 5-year plan to one spanning only 12 months) is an indication of an expectation of some imminent consensus on the ETS in the Federal Parliament.

BTW mr_anderson, you deserve some MAJOR kudos for your coverage of news relevant to Australia.  Many thanks!

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Re: Merrill, Rothschild, RBS to Advise the State of Queensland on assest Sale
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2009, 11:06:37 PM »
Unions deny moving for special ALP conference

PETRINA BERRY
December 15, 2009 - 12:46PM

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/unions-deny-moving-for-special-alp-conference-20091215-kthn.html


Union leaders say they would welcome a special Queensland ALP conference to override the Government's $15 billion asset sell-off, but there is no formal push.

One of the most vocal opponents of the Bligh Government's privatisation plan, Peter Simpson from the Electrical Trades Union, said there had been informal talk of a special conference to vote against the sell-off.

But he dismissed claims in a Queensland newspaper today that union leaders were gathering the numbers for a ballot to hold a special conference.

"There has been casual discussions over a beer in pubs about it but nothing formal. That's the extent of it," Mr Simpson said.

"It's just a beat-up but if someone came to me and asked me if I would support an official special conference to vote against privatisation, I would say yes."

Under Labor party rules, a special state conference can be called if there is majority support among affiliated unions and branch members.

ALP state secretary Anthony Chisholm said the idea of a conference was not raised at a meeting of the party's powerful administrative committee on Monday night and he was not aware of any proposals.

"This is purely speculation - nothing more than that," he said.

Premier Anna Bligh told ABC Radio she was standing by her decision to sell public assets, including the Port of Brisbane and Queensland Rail's coal business.

"I understand how difficult it is for many people on the Labor side of politics," Ms Bligh said.

"I wouldn't be doing this if I had other easy choices but the reality is Queensland needs this decision now."

Rail, Tram and Bus Union secretary Owen Doogan told ABC Radio he would support a conference but was not aware of any formal move.

Deputy Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg said that if the union was serious about stopping the sell-off and protecting its members' jobs, it would instigate a special meeting.

"Last night, apparently they had the opportunity to call a special conference," Mr Springborg told Brisbane reporters.

"Today they said they might think about it some time in the future. They're not serious."

He also challenged the union to stop political donations to the Bligh government.

"That would make Anna Bligh and the Labor government sharpen up," he said.

AAP
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Offline mr anderson

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Re: Merrill, Rothschild, RBS to Advise the State of Queensland on assest Sale
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2009, 10:07:56 PM »
Bligh's hard sell fails to convince workers

OWEN DOOGAN
December 18, 2009 - 9:31AM

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/opinion/blighs-hard-sell-fails-to-convince-workers-20091218-l0zs.html


The Bligh Government's plan to sell Queensland Rail's coal and freight operations brings to mind the story of Henny Penny, the chicken hit by a raindrop who then thought the sky was falling in.

Terror-stricken Henny rushed off to convince other farmyard animals to share her concern about the falling sky.

Fortunately Queenslanders understand that rushed decisions are usually bad decisions.

More than 80 per cent do not support the sale of our rail assets.

Many things have changed since the Premier announced in June that the Budget sky had fallen in and thus there was a need to sell state assets, including a substantial part of Queensland Rail, to pay off government debt.

Why sell QR?

Despite the fact the government's own figures showed the state's continuing economic recovery, the government told us QR would have to be sold. Despite the fact QR had transformed itself into one of Australia's leading land transport companies under public ownership, QR would have to be sold.

Despite the fact the government's rail sell-off plan presented real risks to regional workers and communities, QR would have to be sold. Despite the fact QR delivered more than $3.5 billion in yearly revenue to Queenslanders and was forecast to make a profit of about $1.1 billion over the next three years, QR would have to be sold.

Despite these facts, the Bligh Government continues to tell Queenslanders that QR has to go. More than 20 prominent economists publically declared Queensland's sky wasn't falling in and that prudence was required, not panic.

The severe recession forecast by the Bligh Government had not materialised in Queensland. Coal production has gone through the roof in this state with QR Traincrew struggling to access leave as a result of the booming industry.

But the Bligh Government just yelled louder about the sky falling in, launching a $1.9 million advertising campaign. It ignored regional communities wanting fewer trucks on highways and more freight on railways. It ignored railway experts pointing out the folly of this privatisation and the numerous examples of failures throughout the Australia and the world.

It even ignored its own three- to five-year timetable and announced a sharemarket float in less than 12 months.

After six months of being exposed to 80 to 90 per cent of Queenslanders providing a definitive "no" to their rail privatisation plan, the Bligh Government was arrogant enough not only to declare that it would go ahead with its announced rail privatisation, but would additionally throw the Queensland Railway workshops and all of regional freight operations in for good measure.

This will almost certainly threaten job security of workshops employees and will no doubt eventually culminate in the decimation of regional Queensland rail operations. Queenslanders will ultimately be exposed to tens of thousands more truck journeys throughout the state each year.

And just in case they missed anyone, the government announced, out of the blue, the transfer of between 400 and 500 QR passenger division workers from Brisbane to Ipswich.

After all, the sky was falling in and quick decisions had to be made.

The government refused to look over the fence into other states, where public railways had been sold. Many have failed, much regional business and lines are gone and share holders of the only real competitors have seen their investments tumble from over $10 a share to not much more than $1 a share in recent times.

But the government carries on regardless, listening to no-one and rushing the float onto a share market for simple political reasons regardless of the billions of dollars Queensland stands to lose.

It did not end well for Henny Penny and her few farmyard followers - just ask the fox.

Owen Doogan is Queensland State Secretary of the Rail Tram & Bus Union.
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Offline James

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Re: Merrill, Rothschild, RBS to Advise the State of Queensland on assest Sale
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2009, 10:28:33 PM »
I can't stand her doing this. Peter Beattie was bad enough but this woman is by far the worst Premier in the history of Queensland.

Why sell the most profitable and efficient freight system in the world? Why sell another Australian icon? We've seen what it's done for Sydney and Victoria. Our clean and relatively safe rail system was a source of pride for Queensland and a necessary part of the entire states infrastructure.

I can't believe they would put it in private hands it will destroy our way of life in Southeast Queensland

Offline Ragdata

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Re: Merrill, Rothschild, RBS to Advise the State of Queensland on assest Sale
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2009, 10:59:31 PM »
I can't believe they would put it in private hands it will destroy our way of life in Southeast Queensland

And not just the Southeast.  They've invested BILLIONS expanding the port in Gladstone - the sole purpose of which is to enable quicker, cheaper exports of our mineral wealth.  The main mode of transportation of resources to Gladstone has been our rail freight network.  If that breaks down, it's not just the state, but the entire country which will suffer dearly.

I mean - just look at what happened to service nationally after they floated Telstra!  Not to mention the number of jobs which have been relocated to India.  The unions are totally justified in their fears.  Time and time again, privatisation of essential services has led to breakdowns and disruption of services.  Privatisation is FINE in places like the US which have a population and the economic means with which to support privatised "utilities".

The bottom line is that we DON'T have that luxury here.  We live WELL above our means in this country, and socialisation of such necessary industries is the ONLY way to guarantee service when commercial profitability suffers - which it INEVITABLY does because of the distances involved and the lower population densities which describe the vast majority of our country.

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Re: Merrill, Rothschild, RBS to Advise the State of Queensland on assest Sale
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2009, 09:48:19 AM »
Rail privatisation 'planned before election', leaked memo

Petrina Berry
December 23, 2009 03:10pm

http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,26521039-952,00.html


A LEAKED memo does not prove the Queensland government had plans to privatise the state's coal rail business before the last election, Transport Minister Rachel Nolan says.

The government has received widespread backlash over its plans to sell off some assets, including a public float of Queensland Rail's (QR) coal rail business, because they were not revealed before the March election.

A memo allaying fears associated with privatisation of parts of QR sent to staff by QR chief executive Lance Hockridge in October has been leaked to the state opposition and the unions.

In the memo, Mr Hockridge says, "we started our strategic transformation work 16 months ago and already have the game plan in place to deliver on our vision of becoming a truly great Australian company a world leader in rail and transport."

Opposition transport spokeswoman Fiona Simpson said that was proof the sale of QR was already on the cards before the March election but was kept from the public.

"This memo is a smoking gun that shows the government was already planning to sell the assets before the election. They just didn't tell the truth about it," Ms Simpson said.

Ms Nolan said Mr Hockridge's email was about commercialisation not privatisation.

"The document I understand is something Lance Hockridge put out when he became CEO and it was no secret at the time that Lance's role was to make this organisation more commercial," she said.

"It is misleading to suggest a transition towards commercialisation is the same as a transition towards privatisation.

"There has been a long process of commercial reform in Queensland Rail that has been going on for 20 years but the privatisation was put on the agenda more recently."

Ms Simpson said Ms Nolan was not to be trusted.

"This minister also got up in parliament and said QR was not for sale and four days later it was out there publicly that they are selling it."
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Offline James

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Re: Merrill, Rothschild, RBS to Advise the State of Queensland on assest Sale
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2009, 09:55:20 AM »
"This memo is a smoking gun that shows the government was already planning to sell the assets before the election. They just didn't tell the truth about it," Ms Simpson said.

There has to be some legal recourse to this. How could they willing destroy the most prosperous (and in my opinion the best) state in Australia? The Bligh and former Beattie government have bought this state to it's knees from their mismanagement. How can they think what they are doing is in the best interests of Queensland, or that voters want this?

If they'd gone to an election on the sale of state assets they would have lost by a landslide. This dishonesty in government can't be allowed to continue. For major decisions like this, ie mid term policy announcements they should cast a referendum.

It's like they have zero accountability once they're in office.

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Re: Merrill, Rothschild, RBS to Advise the State of Queensland on assest Sale
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2009, 10:54:41 PM »
Rail privatisation 'planned before election', leaked memo

Petrina Berry
December 23, 2009 03:10pm

http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,26521039-952,00.html


A LEAKED memo does not prove the Queensland government had plans to privatise the state's coal rail business before the last election, Transport Minister Rachel Nolan says.

The government has received widespread backlash over its plans to sell off some assets, including a public float of Queensland Rail's (QR) coal rail business, because they were not revealed before the March election.

A memo allaying fears associated with privatisation of parts of QR sent to staff by QR chief executive Lance Hockridge in October has been leaked to the state opposition and the unions.

In the memo, Mr Hockridge says, "we started our strategic transformation work 16 months ago and already have the game plan in place to deliver on our vision of becoming a truly great Australian company a world leader in rail and transport."

[....]

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Offline mr anderson

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Re: Merrill, Rothschild, RBS to Advise the State of Queensland on assest Sale
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2010, 12:29:58 AM »
Premier Bligh considered asset sales six months before election

Feb 1, 2010
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHGXvUVvZek - 7 News QLD


Feb 2, 2010
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i73mBc10t58 - 7 News QLD

Feb 1, 2010
http://au.news.yahoo.com/queensland/a/-/newshome/6748548/premier-bligh-knew-about-asset-sales-six-months-before-election/

An exclusive Seven News investigation has revealed the State Government was considering selling state assets six months before the state election, despite denials it was pre-planned.

Anna Bligh didn't unveil plans to privatise $15 billion worth of publicly owned entities until after Queenslanders re-elected her. Since then, both the Premier and her senior ministers have steadfastly rejected suggestions they were planning the fire-sale before last March's election.

An exclusive Seven News freedom of information investigation tested the Premier's claim that she "didn't have a secret plan" to sell off state-owned assets. That investigation revealed the Queensland government was warned six months before last year's election that it might have to sell off public assets to deal with mounting debt levels.

On Monday night, Seven News revealed that a cabinet discussion paper, dated October 2008, warned senior ministers, including the Premier, that Queensland's coffers were facing "high rising debt levels", with "no capacity for repayment".

Options for dealing with the problem were outlined in the document, and they included asset sales.

As early as December last year, Anna Bligh told Seven News it was not until after the election that asset sales were considered.

"What I did after the election was sit down with Treasury and do weeks and week of hard yards looking at all the alternatives," Ms Bligh said.

But documents uncovered by Seven News reveal some of those 'hard yards' were being done long before the last election.

In April 2008 Treasurer Andrew Fraser met senior executives from United States based company Hancock Forestry, where the company expressed "very keen interest in being able to acquire Queensland Forestry assets".

According to an email exchange, "The Treasurer in responding indicated that 'thinking' on forestry was not closed", and went on to highlight that "the Government did not have a slavish devotion to any particular philosophy".

Union spokesman Peter Simpson said the documents represented a "smoking gun" against the Government, but Treasurer Andrew Fraser said it simply showed an unchanged policy.

"It's only evidence of the fact that the government's policy hasn't changed through it's time in office," Mr Fraser said.

The email correspondence with the US forestry company also states that Mr Fraser "highlighted that at several points over the past 10 years, the Govt had decided to exit certain asset classes, e.g. recent Airports announcement."

The Treasurer insisted he told Hancock executives that Queensland Forestry wasn't for sale, but not in the email obtained by Seven News.

"There was a discussion about the way in which the government approached privatisation, and that is that we deal with it on a case by case basis - have done throughout our time in government and would do so into the future," Mr Fraser said.

The revelations will give more ammunition to those opposed to the asset sales, including unions who could soon call a special ALP conference to have the sell-off plans overturned.

"They've lied to us and they've lied to the public," union spokesman Peter Simpson said.
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Offline mr anderson

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Re: Merrill, Rothschild, RBS to Advise the State of Queensland on assest Sale
« Reply #15 on: February 03, 2010, 08:46:39 AM »
Govt will not release promised asset sale document

JESSICA MARSZALEK
February 3, 2010 - 5:41PM

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/govt-will-not-release-promised-asset-sale-document-20100203-nda2.html


The Queensland government says it will not release a cabinet document and other detailed information about its planned asset sales to assist public debate on the selloffs. Treasurer Andrew Fraser used a Committee for Economic Development of Australia function today to argue privatisation proceeds would reduce debt, freeing up cash flow from interest payments on infrastructure spending.

But attendees questioned why the government hadn't released detailed information, such as scoping studies, for economists to provide a more sophisticated analysis of the planned sales. Mr Fraser said there were limits on what could be released for commercial reasons.

"Sure, I suppose that the people who are about to buy these companies would love nothing more than for us to release the scoping studies and save them a lot of money," Mr Fraser said in reply.

Similarly, homeowners did not advertise the reserve price of their home before selling, he said.

He said additional information about the regulatory models would eventually be released. But the government would not release a cabinet document that Premier Anna Bligh had promised earlier to divulge. Instead, Ms Bligh quoted a line from the document yesterday showing that the government had received advice before the election that it was not a good time to sell off assets.

She said it showed her government was merely receiving Treasury advice about weathering the world's worst economic meltdown .Mr Fraser refused to say on Wednesday whether the document contained advice on when would be a good time for the asset sales.

"There is ... a point of principle and indeed an obligation for our system of government to be able to consider confidential advice," he told reporters.

"... It remains a confidential document."

Mr Fraser noted there had been a lack of quality public debate on the issue, blaming the state opposition for lacking alternative policies.

"Trying to mount an argument against a vacuum is like trying to put a flagpole in a bowl of custard - it's pretty difficult," he said.

Meanwhile, Queensland Council of Unions general secretary Ron Monaghan told the function the planned asset sales had caused the government to lose half of its core support. He said polling in September found just seven per cent of the 1010 people questioned supported privatisation, with 66 per cent opposed. The remainder were neutral.

More than 40 per cent of respondents said they were closest to the ALP but only 21 per cent said they intended to vote Labor at the next election, and 56 per cent of those polled said they were less likely to vote Labor because of asset sales.

"When it comes to the damage to Labor and the connection between its supporter base, the results are frightening ... they have lost half of their core support," Mr Monaghan said.
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Protesters confront Lucas over assets sell-off

May 3, 2010
http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/protesters-confront-lucas-over-assets-selloff-20100503-u2e9.html




Protesters angered by the Queensland government's assets sell-off have confronted acting premier Paul Lucas during a Labour Day march in Brisbane. As Mr Lucas led the march through the city streets, about 20 protesters holding oversized cheques heckled Mr Lucas, and demanded to know where the money from the sell-off was going.

One protester, armed with a megaphone, said the Labor party had been taken over by the interests of big business.



The protesters did not appear to be union-affiliated, but unions on Sunday promised Mr Lucas he could expect some uncomfortable moments. "I'd imagine there may be some heckling from the crowds as they march," Queensland Council of Unions assistant general secretary Amanda Richards said.

Unions are angry over the government's assets sale, the bungled rollout of the Queensland Health payroll system, and the government's standoff with teachers over a planned boycott of national literacy and numeracy tests. Before beginning the march, Mr Lucas denied Premier Anna Bligh had timed an overseas trade mission to dodge any angry confrontations with unions on Labour Day.

"I always like to be in the presence of the premier, but she is creating jobs for Queensland ... that's what she's doing," he told reporters.

He said protesters were entitled to their views, but they would not put him off participating in the march.

"This is democracy in action," he said, adding he expected to receive some "character-building" advice from protesters.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has also joined the march, which is heading from the CBD to the RNA showgrounds. Earlier in the day, Mr Rudd said he'd use the occasion to brief health workers about his health reforms.

"It'll be good to catch up with the folk down there, nurses, hospital staff," he told 4BC Radio.

"I'll spend some time talking to them about the new health and hospitals network."

ACTU president Sharan Burrow told reporters that federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott posed a grave threat to workers' rights.

"We're not going back ... today is the start of the campaign in Brisbane - Work Choices, whatever the name, never again.

"Fundamental rights at work are at threat with Tony Abbott."

She also praised the federal government's decision to increase superannuation.

"We've campaigned for this for a long time. Our people are going to retirement impoverished. We've got to put an end to that," she said.

Ms Burrow also said it was clear there were "some issues" with the Bligh government's plans to privatise public assets.

"We urge the government to sit down with the unions to work it out," she said before beginning the march alongside Mr Lucas.

AAP
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Offline kita

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Re: Merrill, Rothschild, RBS to Advise the State of Queensland on assest Sale
« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2010, 03:02:51 PM »

When the NBN is bulit it will also be sold straight away for peanuts!,
ONLY answer to God,for God is Good, honest and just.God is the one,we'll have to answer to one day for our actions in the here and now -DO NOT DOUBT IT!