The Electrical Trades Union says the Queensland treasurer’s listening tour, to test support for asset sales, is a sham.

Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls will begin his listening tour on asset sales on Tuesday, but a union says he only wants to hear from people who agree.

The invite-only meeting in Cairns will be held with selected community leaders, such as school principals, the chamber of commerce and mayors.

Mr Nicholls is also planning to visit Townsville, Gladstone, Toowoomba, Bundaberg, Emerald, Brisbane, Longreach and the Gold and Sunshine Coasts.

The Electrical Trades Union has called the closed-door events a sham.

“I can see it now, Nicholls on the podium talking to LNP hacks about how poor the states finances are, complete with scary graphs and mindless nodding,” ETU state secretary Peter Simpson said in a statement.

“And then straight out of the Thatcher doctrines he will say ‘there is no alternative we must sell assets’, the crowd erupts when they realise this is for them, an insider giving them a heads up: ‘Get in early and you’ll make a motza’. And after a bit of back slapping he’s gone like a thief in the night.”

Mr Nicholls has said Queenslanders face a stark choice as the state deals with its mountain of debt.

He says they can wear increased taxes and charges, accept reduced services or support the sale of some public assets.

He has urged the public to be patient and has promised another round of consultation on asset sales in coming weeks.

The government will consider selling two electricity generators and leasing the Gladstone and Townsville ports if it secures voter support for the plan at next year’s election.