Articles on Privatisation

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Then NSW treasurer and now Premier Mike Baird, shaking hands in 2013 to mark the handover of Port Botany under a 99-year lease – the same period as has been proposed to lease state electricity assets to private operators. Dan Himbrechts/AAP

NSW can pay for the infrastructure it needs without privatisation

Privatising public assets is like a tradesperson selling her or his tools when facing a temporary income shortfall. Much better to borrow at low interest rates and productively invest those funds.
Development is underway all around Sydney harbour – but has the public interest been well served? AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Sydney risks becoming a dumb, disposable city for the rich

The major political parties seem captive to an ideologically driven obsession to privatise public spaces – including the Powerhouse Museum site in Ultimo and other harbour-front sites.
Mike Baird concedes there are ‘challenges’ facing the federal Liberal Party, led by Tony Abbott (right), but says voters want him to focus on state issues. AAP/Paul Miller

NSW Premier Mike Baird on health, privatisation, and Abbott’s shadow

'There's no doubt there's challenges in Canberra ... I would like Canberra to get on with the job of actually looking after the people it's supposed to be representing.' – Mike Baird
Asked about what he would consider a good result at the upcoming state election, Mike Baird joked he’d be happy with a win. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

In Conversation with Mike Baird: full transcript

'I would be incredibly disappointed, I can’t tell you how disappointed I’d be, if I didn’t have the opportunity to continue beyond March ... [these are] some of the most exciting times in politics'.
The sale of Medibank private is unlikely to compensate taxpayers for the loss of future revenue. AAP

Undervaluing Medibank Private: taxpayers face a raw deal

The IPO of Medibank Private is set to take place on November 25, and the indicative share price range in the prospectus released today suggests a market capitalisation of between A$4.3 billion and A$5.5…
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has the support of his federal government colleagues to privatise assets, but the electorate remains unconvinced. Dan Peled/AAP

Making the case for selling off Queensland’s power assets

Queensland’s Campbell Newman-led coalition will seek a mandate to privatise the electricity sector, along with two ports and water pipelines, in next year’s state election, despite it being rejected by…
Same service, higher prices. Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Rail fare rises show once again the pitfalls of privatisation

The announcement that rail fares will increase by up to 5.5% is yet another indictment of the failure of the country’s privatised railway industry. Railway privatisation was sold to the public on the basis…
Treasurer Joe Hockey will present his much vaunted first budget tonight.

Selling off the Mint: simply creating a private monopoly?

The proposed sale of the Royal Australian Mint, expected to be announced in tonight’s Federal Budget, raises significant issues that should be addressed by the Coalition government before they go further…
Sell the antiques, pay for the house extension: capital recycling could be one way of funding new infrastructure. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

Explainer: what is capital recycling?

Treasurer Joe Hockey has spent much of the year – certainly since the G20 finance ministers’ conference in Sydney – talking up “capital recycling”. The idea sounds promising: new projects can be built…
The government has decided to privatise Medibank Private. Now they have to ensure taxpayers get maximum value from the sale. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Privatising Medibank: will an IPO deliver for taxpayers?

The planned sale of Medibank Private by IPO continues a trend of privatisation that commenced with the Commonwealth Bank in 1991. While the debate about the merits of privatisation continues, it’s also…
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman is seeking a mandate for large-scale asset sales in the state. Dan Peled/AAP

Hockey’s asset sales sweetener could shift Queensland thinking

Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey’s announcement that states will receive an incentive payment of 15% of asset sales if they invest the funds in infrastructure is good news for Queensland’s Newman government…
Investors who remember former floats of government entities might be excited by the prospect of a Medibank Private IPO. Dean Lewins/AAP

Medibank Private IPO: no sure thing for investors

The proposed sale of Medibank Private is not popular, but as I wrote last year, and as Finance Minister Mathias Cormann points out, it’s hard to find public policy grounds to justify ongoing public ownership…
Looking for fast broadband? Here, read this report. Stefan Postles/AAP

The politics of unshackling the NBN from politics

Nobody can ever state with certainty how much it will cost or how long it will take to deliver broadband services to more than 22 million people spread out over 7.6 million square kilometres. Even more…
HMP Oakwood, the vanguard of British carceral design. John M/Creative Commons.

Bad design breeds violence in sterile megaprisons

In the first few weeks of 2014, private security company G4S has repeatedly had to deny reports of full-scale riots at the UK’s newest prison, HMP Oakwood, near Wolverhampton. The prison has experienced…
The days when Qantas flew the flag as an iconic government business and public service still inspire public nostalgia. AAP/Paul Miller

Public’s view of the politics of privatisation comes full circle

Sometimes in politics Newton’s Third Law – for every reaction there is an equal and opposite reaction – is applicable. Australia has a long history of public ownership, but it also has a long history of…

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