Privatisation vs. Public Assets

Most Australians feel that they have not benefited from the decisions of both major parties to sell off many critical public assets like ports, airports and roads. For the most part, we’ve just had to pay much more for the same, or even reduced services. Governments love the one-off revenue benefit of selling these assets to the private sector as a means to effectively front-end quasi taxation. Typically, they sell assets to new owners with an agreed right that the new owner can increase the charges to consumers.  This boosts the sales price, creating a positive budget hit but it leaves us all paying more than we would have, for the very same service.

The intrinsic assumption that governments should not provide monopoly style services should also be reviewed. Far too often, we have seen new private sector operators out-smart regulators who are supposed to keep them honest. In most cases new owners have reaped monopoly profits at the expense of consumers.

There should be no new privatisation of public assets until a review can be completed of the success or failure of those assets that have already be sold into private ownership.

Will you sign?