Joe Hockey
Joe Hockey Barry Ledicoat

New deal could see mass sell-off of public infrastructure

A MASS sell-off of State Government-owned infrastructure across the nation could soon be on the way, after Treasurer Joe Hockey secured a landmark deal with state treasurers on Friday.

The deal will see the Federal Government offer states an incentive payment for them to sell major public infrastructure assets, with the funds to be re-directed into new infrastructure projects.

A new pool of Commonwealth funds would be created, to give state governments up to 15% of the value of the asset proposed for sale; on condition the revenue gained was put towards productivity-enhancing infrastructure.

As Queensland and NSW look to raise more revenue, many assets remain on the table for privatisation, and the deal would see the Federal Government achieve its aims of injecting funds in infrastructure projects.

Mr Hockey said the "asset recycling initiative" would offer the incentive payments for any such sell-offs that met the criteria, completed before June 2016.

While the details are yet to be confirmed, all state treasurers agreed in principle to the deal, which Mr Hockey said would help to address a $100 billion backlog of assets that could be sold.

"The partnerships could overcome the fiscal constraints governments face to increase the pipeline of projects and improve Australians' quality of life, tackle congestion, reduce business costs and help firms better link with their employees and customers," he said.

The meeting also discussed potential changes to the GST, but Mr Hockey said it was up to the states to come to a unanimous position on any proposed changes.


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