Treasurer Tim Nicholls
Treasurer Tim Nicholls

Sell-off of office buildings in CBD will help pay off debt

LABOR has slammed the sell-off of State Government buildings, saying Campbell Newman broke his promise of going to the people before offloading assets.

But Treasurer Tim Nicholls said the sale of seven office buildings in the Brisbane CBD would help pay down close to half a billion dollars in debt.

Mr Nicholls said the sites were sold to funds managed by the Queensland Investment Corporation for a total of $561.9 million.

The buildings represent about 7% of all office space in the area.

"The Government will lease back the buildings for periods of between four and 15 years," Mr Nicholls said.

"For the government it means the financial risk associated with owning these office buildings is removed."

"We estimate that by using these funds to pay down that debt we'll save Queenslanders around $130 million in interest payments."

Meanwhile, the LNP government is expected to have a deficit for the coming financial year of $8 billion, $3.4 billion higher than it was in November.

A report from News Ltd attributed the growing debt figure to writedowns on stamp duty, royalties and payroll revenue.

The newspaper reported a senior government source warning there would be "further hard decisions".

It follows a massive cost-cutting exercise by the state in which thousands lost work and program funding slashed to save $5.5 billion per year.

Shadow treasurer Curtis Pitt said the deal was the start of a plan to sell assets in line with recommendations made by conservative advisor Peter Costello.

"Queenslanders should never forget that it was Peter Costello who sold off $72 billion in assets when he controlled the books in the Howard government," Mr Pitt said.

"That's what he wants for Queensland and Campbell Newman and Tim Nicholls will very shortly announce that they are taking his recommendations on board - and nothing is sacred."


The buildings being sold off

  • David Longland Building, 63 George St
  • Education House, 54 Mary St 61 Mary St
  • Primary Industries Building, 62 - 80 Ann St
  • 111 George St 33 Charlotte St
  • Mineral House, 41 George St