Brisbane Port: gone for a song

Port of Brisbane. Photo: Roberta W.B./Flickr

"The Queensland government yesterday completed the second sale in its asset privatisation program, offloading the Port of Brisbane for $2.3 billion to a group of local and offshore buyers”, the November 11 Courier-Mail said.

The port was sold to a consortium called Q Port Holdings, one of only two bidders in the final race to buy the asset. Q Port Holdings will pay $2.1 billion for a 99-year lease on the port and $200 million for future upgrades of the port’s motorway.

The port sale is just the latest in a string of sell-offs of public assets by the state Labor government of Premier Anna Bligh.

Ewan Saunders from the Socialist Alliance told Green Left Weekly: “The Bligh Labor government is selling the property of the people of Queensland for a song. It has absolutely no right to do so. It did not get permission from the electorate. The vast majority of Queenslanders are strongly opposed to these sales, according to opinion polls.

"For a short-term boost to the government's bottom line, it is selling off most of the remaining revenue-producing assets owned by the people, reducing our control over them and giving huge hand-outs to big corporations. Rather than privatising public assets, we need to be nationalising vital industries like mining, banking and transport, for the good of the common wealth and to expand real democracy so we can effectively tackle our critical economic and environmental problems."