Queenslanders will see the Government’s finalised Strong Choices plan to pay down the State’s $80 billion debt through asset leases next week.
Premier Campbell Newman and Treasurer Tim Nicholls today put the finishing touches to the plan which they will take to Cabinet on Tuesday.
“This is a momentous decision for Queensland and we’ve taken our time to ensure we get it right.” Mr Newman said.
“On Tuesday the Treasurer and I will take the final plan to Cabinet and ask our colleagues for their support.
“Following Cabinet, there will be a special Party Room meeting where Government MPs will have the chance to consider and vote on the plan.
“I’ll be asking MPs to support it because our Strong Choices Plan is about securing our State’s financial future.
“We’ve listened to Queenslanders and redrafted the plan to address concerns about control of State assets.
“Under the plan we are taking to Cabinet there will be no sales of assets, only long-term leases.
Treasurer Tim Nicholls said Queenslanders have told the Government they want to reduce the debt but they also want to be sure that at the end of the leases the State retains ownership.”
“Long-term leases would allow the Government to pay down $25 billion in debt and reduce annual interest payments from their current level of $4 billion a year,” Mr Nicholls said.
“As I’ve gone around the State listening to what Queenslanders want, it’s very clear that they think our current interest bill of $450,000 an hour is too much,” he said.
“By leasing assets we can pay down some of the debt, reduce our interest bill and set up a series of funds to pay for the schools, hospitals, roads and rail we’re going to need in the future as our State grows.
“During the consultation phase of the Strong Choices campaign Queenslanders have come forward with dozens of projects they believe our State needs.
“But until we can reduce that $80 billion debt we will not be able to fund all the job-creating infrastructure projects that Queensland needs to ensure future economic growth.”