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Qld LNP refuses to rule out asset sales

AAP logoAAP 20/09/2016 Jamie McKinnell

Queensland opposition leader Tim Nicholls has refused to rule out future asset sales under a Liberal National Party government.

The privatisation debate was reignited on Tuesday by heavy criticism of both sides of Queensland politics from former Victorian Liberal leader Jeff Kennett.

Mr Kennett labelled Mr Nicholls as "lemming-like" and "weak" for abandoning his party's asset-leasing agenda after the last state election and said the Labor government, which has ruled out selling income-generating public assets, was "unfit to govern".

Treasurer Curtis Pitt reaffirmed his party's position to not sell public assets and pressured Mr Nicholls to do the same, after voters rejected the opposition's "Strong Choices" asset leasing plan at the 2015 election.

Mr Nicholls would only say that the LNP had accepted the decision of voters regarding "that plan" - referring to Strong Choices.

"I'm being as clear as it's possible to be," he said.

Queensland LNP's new leader Tim Nicholls © AAP Image/Glenn Hunt Queensland LNP's new leader Tim Nicholls

"That plan was rejected by the people of of Queensland at the last election. We won't be revisiting that plan."

Pressed on whether that meant another plan involving privatisation would be considered in the future, Mr Nicholls would only repeat the line that the party had accepted the decision of voters regarding "that plan".

"My team is working on policies," he said.

"We've got 18 months to go until the next election is due.

"The real question that has to be asked is how is the current government going to deliver on projects that need to be done?"

He said he "disagreed entirely" with Mr Kennett's comments and that former Queensland premier Campbell Newman, who also joined in on the commentary in The Australian, was "entitled to his opinion".

Mr Nicholls did admit that the former LNP government's style was perceived as "combative" and also wouldn't be revisited.

"The government that I would lead ... is a much different style from that style," he said.

Mr Newman told The Australian that Mr Nicholls was "the strongest advocate for a policy on asset leasing".

The LNP's health spokesman, John-Paul Langbroek, also refused to rule out future asset sales.

"The important issue is for Labor to outline to Queenslanders why infrastructure spending is at its lowest ever and we will hold the government to account for that," he said in Cairns.

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