8 Jun 2011

Restricting foreign ownership of assets considered

6:41 pm on 8 June 2011

The Minister of Finance says restrictions on foreigners taking stakes in partial sales of state assets have been looked at by the Government.

Bill English raised the prospect at a post-Budget appearance before Parliament's finance and expenditure select committee on Wednesday.

Mr English says there is precedent for restricting foreign ownership of former state-owned enterprises in the sale of Telecom in the 1990s.

He also raised the possibility of incentives for local investors.

Mr English says the part sale of Queensland Rail by the state government last year offered local investors discounted and bonus shares.

However, he pointed out that both possibilities had not been considered in great detail by the Government.

A spokesperson for Mr English later said work on possible asset sales is still at a very early stage.

The spokesperson said restrictions on foreign ownership also meant restricting how much money flows back to the Crown from asset sales.