Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls.
Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls. Dave Hunt

Treasurer takes asset sales conversation on the road

IT is a conversation the Queensland Government says we must have.

How effective that conversation with Queenslanders is will ultimately determine whether the LNP wins the next state election.

Treasurer Tim Nicholls will embark on a tour of regional Queensland in the coming weeks to open up the discussion surrounding asset sales.

A Queensland Government source told APN Newsdesk on Wednesday destinations would include the Sunshine Coast, Bundaberg, Gladstone, Emerald, Longreach and Toowoomba as well as other towns across the south-east.

The tour will kick off in Cairns next week.

Mr Nicholls will hold a series of round table discussions with community leaders in each destination to discuss the options for reducing the state's debt.

Last year he paved the way for the government to seek a mandate at the next election to sell off some of the state's assets in a bid to reduce debt.

Mr Nicholls said last December scoping studies were underway to examine options surrounding government-owned coal-fired electricity generators CS Energy and Stanwell Corporation.

He said investigations were underway to determine whether offering long-term leases on the Ports of Gladstone and Townsville were viable options.

The proposed sell-off of the Mount Isa to Townsville freight rail line was also mooted.

Premier Campbell Newman reiterated this week the government had not made up its mind over asset sales.

He said that decision would ultimately fall with Queenslanders.

"That debt is costing $450,000 an hour in interest payments. Think what we could do with $450,000 an hour, hour after hour, day after day, week after week if Queensland was not shackled with that debt," he said.

"We are not saying that these assets have to go, that is not the conversation, we are saying we want to talk to Queenslanders in a grown up way about this challenge.

"The choice is fairly clear, we have to do something, but this is a decision that Queenslanders will get to make."

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