Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls says the state’s unions have failed to present an alternative to asset sales to pay down debt.
Queensland’s treasurer and the state’s unions have failed to find a breakthrough over plans to sell public assets.
They met for the first time on Monday after union bosses weren’t invited to talks with community leaders over the past few weeks.
Treasurer Tim Nicholls, who described the 1.5 hour talks as vigorous, says the two parties struggled to see eye to eye.
He says the unions failed to present an alternative to pay down $80 billion in debt, beyond the proposals being put forward by the government, which include the privatisation of ports and electricity generators instead of higher taxes and reduced services.
“Like all the other meetings I’ve been to with the unions, they failed to present an alternative,” Mr Nicholls said.
“There are obvious areas of policy difference between this government and the unions.
“Many in the room wanted to spend more money but had no solutions about where the funds should come from.”
The Queensland Council of unions accused Mr Nicholls of creating an artificial “debt crisis”.
“Unions and workers have seen through his sales pitch, and if Mr Nicholls actually takes his proposal to the people, they will see through it too,” president John Battams said.
The government will hold 11 public meetings in the coming weeks.