Sell-off of assets could reap $92 billion for the Government

THE Federal and State governments could reap a massive $92 billion windfall if a raft of public assets including ports, electricity providers and water supply systems are sold off.  

An Infrastructure Australia analysis found privatising the State and Federal Government-owned assets could reap $92 billion, more than three times the ongoing value.  

The analysis was given to the Productivity Commission into public infrastructure late last year and examined 30 public assets that were "suitable for transfer to the private sector".  

Among the biggest assets on the list were Gladstone Port, Energex, Ergon, CS Energy and Stanwell Energy in Queensland, and Snowy Hydro, Transgrid, Essential Energy and the Forestry Corporation in New South Wales.  

The analysis found selling all 30 major assets would provide an injection to government owners of $92 billion, compared with the expected dividend of $28 billion under continued government ownership.  

"The transfer of assets would therefore result in a significant improvement to government balance sheet(s) which would enable them to fund new economic infrastructure," the paper reads.  

While most of the infrastructure was owned by state governments and would bolster their bottom lines, the release of the analysis will provide further evidence for supporters of potential asset sales at a federal level.   T

he Abbott Government has begun a study into the potential sale of Medibank Private and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chief Rod Sims this week publicly backed privatisation.  

While he did not mention specific corporations to be sold off, he did say electricity providers, networks and retailers were among those that could reap the biggest benefits for consumers.  

The analysis follows renewed debate this week about the future of Commonwealth-owned assets amid speculation the National Commission of Audit will recommend privatisation of some infrastructure to help the federal budget.  

Neither the Abbott Government nor the commission will comment about its possible recommendations until after its report has been released.  

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