Queensland to float coal freight rail

The proposed IPO of Queensland Rail has seen a backlash across the State.

The Queensland Government has announced its plan to list its coal and freight rail lines business late next year.

While the Queensland Government will retain ownership of its passenger service, the $7 billion float will see the coal and freight network go public, with the Government also looking to lease out its Abbot Point Coal Terminal and the Port of Brisbane.

The newly public entity will be known as QR National.

Following the initial public offering, the Government will retain between 25 and 45 percent of the listed entity but will sell down its stake over time.

Individual companies or investors will be limited to a 15% stake in QR National.

However, the Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has faced a backlash over the forced sale of the freight business, with a reported 80% of Queenslanders against the IPO.

According to Queensland Resource Council chief executive Michael Roche, the proposed public float of a vertically integrated QR coal rail business would perpetuate a model that previously locked competition out of Queensland’s coal freight business.

He went on to say that today’s announcement entrenches the coal transport inefficiencies that the industry has had to endure for the past five years, and just as importantly, neglects the opportunity to lock in long-term growth in investment, jobs and royalties.

Mr Roche said the coal industry was also concerned that the sale of a 99-year lease of the Abbot Point Coal Terminal north of Bowen might see the state revisit the failed Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal sale experiment.

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