On September 20, the Courier-Mail reported on its front page that the fire sale of Queensland’s public assets had “shifted into high gear” with the $7 billion float of QR National — Queensland Rail’s freight network.
“Treasurer Andrew Fraser yesterday lured a bevy of local and interstate stockbrokers to the pre-registration launch … set to be the nation's biggest since the third tranche of Telstra”, the Courier-Mail said. “But experts have warned mum and dad investors not to be blindly wooed by the Government’s $15 million ad blitz to spruik the sell-off of QR National, the centrepiece of its unpopular asset-sales agenda.”
The state Labor government's plan to privatise huge swathes of remaining publicly-owned industries — including rail, ports, roads and forests — has provoked widespread opposition from the union movement and opinion polls have consistently showed a majority of the Queensland public oppose the sell-off.
Peter Simpson, state secretary of the Electrical Trades Union, which has been in the forefront of the campaign against the privatisation plan, said in the September 21 Courier-Mail: “The State Government, despite ruling out privatisation in letters to unions and claiming the economic sky wasn't falling in during the last state election campaign [in March 2009], has charged ahead with privatisation.
“It has not listened, has certainly not negotiated seriously and has now put forward the Renewing Queensland Plan and 'walk in my shoes' stunts as solutions to their woes … State Labor needs a change of direction if it is to turn its electoral prospects around.”