State KAP Leader and Member for Mount Isa Robbie Katter has responded to the Aurizon sale of its intermodal business by hitting out at previous State Labor Governments on its support of privatisation of Government assets and ‘letting the market decide’ policy which has led to soaring electricity prices and a rail network that is going backwards.
On Monday, Aurizon announced its intention to exit its intermodal business through a combination of closure and sale. Aurizon, a containerized rail and road freight haulage business for retailers, wholesalers and freight forwarders will sell its Queensland business to a consortium of Linfox and Pacific National.
The represents a net loss of competition in the marketplace.
The decision follows an extensive twelve-month review initiated by the Aurizon Board.
The impetus for privatisation in the first place was to entice more competition to keep down pricing and increase usage.
State owned assets such as the Mount Isa Rail line need to be attractive enough through Government intervention for continued investment by commercial business.
“I have been howling for State Government intervention in regards to freight costs on our rail line from Mount Isa. This is a failure of our Government to recognise when intervention is vital to attracting long term viable business opportunities on our rail services from Mount Isa,” Robbie said.
“They’ve become hell bent on gouging as much revenue as possible from this line and forgotten that it is needed as an industry enabler.”
Robbie also outlined the Labor Government under then Premier Beattie, sold the retail arms of electricity suppliers Ergon and Energex in 2006 after advice that Electricity prices would drop.
“Labor and for that matter, the LNP seem to be obsessed with privatisation and the so called free market and are under the assumption this will drive competition and a fall in costs such as electricity. This has proven to be just the opposite with electricity costs skyrocketing and now with Aurizon’s departure from the Queensland market – less competition on our rail line. Mr Beattie himself admitted in 2013 he had been naïve and said at the time ‘Anyone who think privatisation is the panacea for the price is cuckoo. Government intervention and ownership of assets are vital to our long term future as a state’.” Robbie said.
- “We now have less competition, soaring prices and highly increased volumes on the road instead of rail. On all three of these issues, policy has failed.”