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Ontarians got a taste of privatization in the 1990s, when the Conservative government of Mike Harris handed over the lucrative Highway 407 toll road in a 99-year lease for a fraction of its value.

Financiers are now controlling public works, much to the public’s confusion

Canadian governments aren’t completely selling off major public works, but their embrace of public-private “partnerships” is giving private financiers control of major infrastructure projects.
NSW Treasurer Andrew Constance with the 2014 budget. An economic analysis has found electricity revenues have been crucial to keeping the NSW budget in surplus in recent years. Paul Miller/AAP

Power privatisation is bad for the NSW budget bottom line

We found that without state-owned electricity revenues, the NSW Coalition government would have struggled to avoid recording deficits in every budget since its election in 2011.
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’.
Treasurer Joe Hockey will give $60 million in incentive payments to the ACT government. AAP/Dean Lewins

Hockey signs first asset recycling deal – with a Labor government

The federal government has signed its first agreement under its asset recycling initiative – with the Labor government in the Australian Capital Territory. The ACT government is selling nearly A$400 million…
To help Australia meet its G20 commitments, infrastructure projects like Sydney’s WestConnex require a more stringent and transparent cost-benefit analysis. Dan Himbrechts/AAP

PM’s infrastructure plan failing growth and cost-benefit goals

The OECD’s Going for Growth report released this week is a good reminder of why Tony Abbott wants to be remembered as “the infrastructure Prime Minister”. The OECD argues addressing infrastructure service…
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…
The government is hoping asset recycling will lead to major infrastructure investments, but its success could lie elsewhere. Stefan Postles/AAP

Asset recycling no dream for Hockey, but efficiency boost likely

UPDATE: This piece originally said the Asset Recycling Initiative had been passed by the Senate. Subsequent to publication, the amended legislation was rejected by the House of Representatives. The piece…
The NSW Baird government is relying on asset sales to fund infrastructure, but all state governments have a revenue problem. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

New federalism promise recedes on falling wave of state asset sales

The fiscal relationship between the Commonwealth and the states in Australia’s federal system is unsustainable in the long term. That statement has been difficult to deny ever since the 1940s, when Canberra…
The drive to privatise was popular during the Howard era. Alan Porritt/AAP

Asset recycling scheme looks more like policy recycling

The Abbott government is about to unveil a new A$10 billion infrastructure package in its first budget. Apparently it is to be funded by a “special immediate measure” in the form of a levy imposed on high-income…
The states have signed on to a capital recycling deal but finding projects to apply it to could prove challenging. Alan Porritt/AAP

Capital recycling plan good in theory, difficult in practice

The provision of new infrastructure is a high priority for the Abbott government. It is a worthy cause. New infrastructure will ensure we remain competitive in the international market. Reducing logistics…

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