The Newman Government has taken another step towards paying down Labor’s legacy of debt, taking advantage of favourable market conditions to further reduce the State’s shareholding in Aurizon.
Treasurer Tim Nicholls said the Newman Government was continuing its measured and methodical plan to turn Queensland’s finances around, last night raising $350 million for debt reduction.
The State sold 74.3 million shares at $4.71 per share, 4 cents above market close and 3 cents above the day’s market volume weighted average price of $4.68.
“The Newman Government is consistently reducing Labor’s debt legacy, which was set to peak at $85.3 billion in 2014/15,” Mr Nicholls said.
“We are also conscious to ensure our actions generate the best value for Queensland taxpayers.
“Not only did Labor privatise QR National without a mandate from the people, it then borrowed a further $2.2 billion against the shares, robbing Queenslanders of the full value of its remaining shareholding.
“Standard and Poors recently highlighted Labor’s debt and deficit is still a constraint on Queensland’s finances – we’re paying around $4 billion in interest this year alone,” he said.
As a result of the selldown yesterday evening and on-market sales undertaken previously, the Government’s holding in Aurizon will fall under the 5 per cent substantial shareholder threshold level.
Mr Nicholls said that Queensland taxpayers have continued to benefit significantly from the patience shown by the Newman Government in managing the State’s holding in Aurizon.
To date more than $2.7 billion has been realised from the Newman Government’s divestments in Aurizon since its Initial Public Offer, representing a gain of almost $900 million above the Initial Public Offer price for Queensland taxpayers.