Gov expects to sell assets, raise tax and reduce services
QUEENSLAND Treasurer Tim Nicholls expects his government might have to sell assets, reduce services and raise taxes to build necessary infrastructure for the state in the future.
But he insisted no decisions about whether to seek a mandate until he had consulted Queenslanders.
"It may a combination of all of those three but let's have a discussion with Queenslanders first and see what they would like to see happen," he said.
Mr Nicholls, who tabled the Economic and Fiscal Challenges document in parliament on Tuesday, denied he was setting the scene for asset sales, rather telling Queenslanders how it was.
"(The document) highlights that after a period of getting back into a fiscal surplus if we make no policy changes we will again start sliding into the red," he said.
"What I'm doing is telling Queenslanders what the situation is and what the prospects of the future hold for us if we don't make some decisions.
"In the longer run we will not be able to sustain the growth and the jobs that people will require in the future.
"We will see debt levelling out for two or three years but in the absence of corrective action debt could potentially blow out to around about $21,000 for every man woman and child up to about $121 billion under the current projects."
Mr Nicholls said the government needed a $25 billion correction, which asset sales alone could not reach.
"That's the sort of number that we need to be able to achieve if we are to free up enough space on the balance sheet to be able to borrow to invest in the infrastructure we know we're going to need in the future," he said.
"The $25 billion is the figure that we would need to get if we were to get back to both the AAA credit rating and to give ourselves sufficient leeway to be able to do it.
"Before we leap to a conclusion, let's talk about where people do want to see it, it may be a combination of things, it may be all one or all the other."
Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt described these figures as another embarrassing attempt to scare Queenslanders into accepting assets sales.
He said the report produced a scenario rather than an official forecast that could stand up to any financial rigour.
Mr Pitt said it was insulting to Queenslanders that Mr Nicholls would scare them with asset sales but talk up the state's economy when talking to potential investors overseas.
"This is a desperate act from a treasurer who knows that Queenslanders don't want the asset sales he is campaigning for," Mr Pitt said.
"In this case, they say economic growth will fall off a cliff at the end of the forward estimates, and that revenue growth will be slower than over the last decade.
"If that's true, then that's a very sad indictment on where the Queensland economy's heading under LNP management.
"It's insulting to Queenslanders that Mr Nicholls thinks his double-talk and his campaign of lies is going to change the minds of Queenslanders on asset sales."
Mr Nicholls said he would report back on his consultation during the budget process and then take the government's proposal to Queenslanders.