Michael Pascoe writes:

Among the many ramifications to work
through in the aftermath of Toll’s takeover of Patrick, the richest might be
the Oz‘s suggestion of large-scale sales and lease-backs to pay for it, but the most intriguing is
what Queensland Rail is really up to.

QR has put its hand upas a would-be buyer of Melbourne freight company FCL, which was going to be bought by Patrick for
$142 million. But at about eight to ten times that price, QR also could be a
buyer of Linfox, as explained by The Smage.

QR already has the West Australian rail
freight network, the CRT road operation and has been successfully hustling for
coal rail haul business in NSW. Throw in the Perth-Melbourne rail slots it hopes
to pick up and you can see a rapidly expanding national transport business –
all owned by the Queensland Government.

So what’s in it for Queensland?
Government ownership of key state infrastructure is one thing, but this
investment in a national transport business seems to be quite another. On the
surface, it looks like a bit of good ol’ national socialism, Queensland style,
but there could be another explanation: fattening the calf for a much richer
sale.

Building up what could become one of the
nation’s two dominant transport players is indeed an intriguing business. And
it’s a business that could be worth a lot of money in a privatisation of one
kind or another a little way down the track, so to speak.

If that’s not Queensland’s
long-term aim, we are left to speculate about what else might be in the Beattie
Government’s sights……