Port lease deal unlikely to fail, economist says

ECONOMIST and professor John Quiggin says it would be "incredibly rare" that the Gladstone Port would not be leased, regardless of the offer.

His comments come in response to a promise yesterday by Premier Campbell Newman, speaking from Rockhampton, who said the LNP would keep the assets if they did not get "full value" on the market.

Mr Newman said, if necessary, he would follow the NSW government that have reportedly taken their power stations off the market.

"We will ensure we get the proper value for any asset," he said. "We would retain assets if we weren't getting full value."

When asked what this would mean for the LNP's proposed infrastructure fund - which asset leasing will pay for - Mr Newman said he was confident the market was there for the assets.

But, a professor for the University of Queensland, Quiggin, said historically once assets were listed on the market the sales have always gone ahead.

"It's incredibly rare for assets to be offered on the market and not be sold," he said.

The leases would be for 50 years with an option to extend for a further 49 years.

The LNP has predicted the leases would yield $37 billion. The party plans to use $25 billion to help reduce the $80 billion state debt.

Any company that leased the Gladstone Port would be taking over assets worth $1.96 billion and an operational revenue of $644.4 million.

Mr Newman is expected to visit Gladstone during the election campaign.



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