Outsourcing isn't a sell off: Newman
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman says the contracting out of public services isn't privatisation, as a union accuses the government of spinning a secret agenda.
A final Commission of Audit report by former federal Treasurer Peter Costello is being delivered to the government this week.
While its recommendations won't be publicised immediately, the state government has already signalled plans to contract out more government services.
Housing Minister Tim Mander last week announced three private providers had been shortlisted to run public housing at Logan, in Brisbane's troubled south.
Alex Scott, secretary of Queensland's public sector union Together, says that the government is planning a "mass privatisation" of prisons, public housing and disability services by July.
But Mr Newman said the possible contracting out of government services to the private sector wasn't tantamount to asset sales.
"That's not privatisation; that's about getting the best bang for the taxpayers' buck," the premier told reporters at Hervey Bay on Monday.
"I have no philosophical point of view in terms whether people are employed in-house, or contracted from external companies."
Mr Scott said working groups formed a year ago showed the government had privatisation plans.
"They're trying to find, through focus groups and spin doctors, a way of saying privatisation isn't privatisation whether they call it contracting out, whether they call it outsourcing," he told reporters on Monday.
Public service members of the union had privately spoken about internal government working parties, formed to explore the privatisation of public housing along with accommodation and respite services, Mr Scott said.
"This government is addicted to privatisation because ... by privatising assets and services, it can have no responsibility for failure of the services," he said.
Meanwhile a spokeswoman for Disabilies Minister Tracy Davis said a decision was yet to be made.
"As the Premier and Minister have previously highlighted, we discovered last year that under Labor, government run services provided less than 10 per cent of the accommodation support and respite services to Queensland but used 23 per cent of the related budget," the spokeswoman said.
"Non-government organisations are already successfully providing most of the services across Queensland.
"As part of our Six Month Action Plan we are looking at ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of accommodation and respite services so we can provide improved services to more people."
The Lotus Glen prison at Mareeba in far north Queensland is being slated for privatisation, which would make it the state's second privately-run jail, News Ltd reports.
The state government has consistently promised to take any electricity privatisation to an election.