Monday, March 15, 2010

Industry bid for QR a stunt: Fraser

A fierce debate over the future of Queensland's bulk haulage tracks has intensified at the weekend with the state's treasurer, Andrew Fraser, accusing the coal industry of undermining the controversial infrastructure sell-off.

As the coal industry today prepared to meet with union representatives on details of the plan to privatise parts of QR, there were also reports that mining companies were preparing to table a bid that would trump the $3bn figure the Queensland Government had expected earn from the sale.

But Mr Fraser accused mining giants of pretending to be united so as to thwart efforts to sell the below and above-rail assets.

Mr Fraser told the Australian Financial Review that coal producers had no intention of seriously competing for QR's below-rail assets, rejecting calls for the state government to show the rail group's financial statements ahead of a bid.

The mining companies have rejected fiercely the state government plan for the QR business to be vertically-integrated, proposing instead that the below-rail business be sold separately.

Former New South Wales premier Nick Greiner is acting on behalf of a consortium of the state's 14 top coal producers ahead of an initial public offering expected in October or November.

The consortium wrote to Queensland premier Anna Bligh last week requesting a meeting and urging industry engagement.

Direct link to the article here.

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