The Property Council has welcomed the announcement from the Queensland Premier Peter Beattie that private sector involvement in infrastructure is the only way ahead for Queensland.
Premier Beattie, speaking at the first Property Council luncheon for 2002, told the 500-strong audience that it was about time that Queensland did things differently, adding that public private partnerships (PPPs) were the future for the State.
“The State Government is about attracting significant investment to Queensland and having things we have never had before,” he said.
“The Queensland economy is too narrow and we have to start looking at things differently.”
He added that the only way that Queensland could get all it needed was to clear the way for PPPs, and said that his Government was looking at developing a workable program.
“Over the next few years there will be many opportunities for the private sector to invest,” he said, “and we can’t build all those things that Queensland needs with taxpayers’ money.
“We have to start seeing capital funds as private as well as public. If the value is there for the taxpayer, then we’re interested.”
Property Council of Australia, Queensland Division executive director Mark Miller welcomed the Premier’s support, and agreed that without a PPP program, Queensland would be left behind.
“The Property Council strongly supports greater private sector involvement in the provision of infrastructure,” he said, “and PPPs offer an opportunity for increased investment in Queensland and the accelerated delivery of badly needed infrastructure, without placing undue strain on scarce public funds.”
Mr Miller also said that greater capital works expenditure needed to be focused across southeast Queensland, and that hard infrastructure investment in things like improved transport systems would have immediate job creation impacts and add long-term economic value to the entire state.
“However”, he added, “since we have the support of the State Government, and have had for some time, we need to look at where the problem lies, and decide who it is that is holding us up.”
Premier Beattie also revealed that there were many hurdles to overcome before an integrated ticketing system could be introduced.
“We are in support of integrated ticketing,” Premier Beattie said, “although there are countless problems associated with it, which would make such a system difficult to introduce at the moment.
“As the situation currently stands, you would have to raise the price of train tickets to compensate for the more expensive bus tickets, and I’m not prepared to do that.”
However Mr Beattie said that he would discuss the issue further with Brisbane Lord Mayor Jim Soorley.
However, Mr Miller maintained that disagreements between the two levels of government were a large part of the problem.
“This is just further evidence for a Regional Transport Authority to manage private and public transport in the region,” he said.
“We need to stop wasting time with city/state disagreements over the provision of transport and start looking for results.”