Treasurer calls for investors to back infrastructure sales

TREASURER Joe Hockey has urged the investment community to back major new public infrastructure, as the Abbott Government seeks support for his asset recycling program to capitalise on state government sell-offs.

Mr Hockey on Saturday addressed business heavyweights at the Australian Investment Forum in the lead up to the G20 meetings later this year.

He told investors that the government remained that despite "some level of anxiety" about Chinese government investment in Australia; he remained open to such investment.

Mr Hockey's comment followed his decision last year to block investment by the United States oilseed giant ADM in Graincorp, but follows approvals fro Chinese state-owned enterprise State Grid and Yancoal in Australia.

"But, since coming to Government we have honoured our word that this nation is open for business - that includes from state-owned enterprises in China," he said.

The Treasurer said while there was always a need for "a check and a balance", he was more inclined to accept proposals.

His speech followed the Senate last week voting down the government's asset recycling bill, which will pay state governments a 15% bonus for selling off government assets, in return for investing in new infrastructure.

He said whatever projects state governments wanted, he would provide $5 billion "if they privatise assets, first in first served".

"That's fine, as long as we're building things. And you know what? This is a huge opportunity for all of you to invest as well; long-term stable investment," he said.

"It is not just traditional infrastructure; railways and roads and airports and ports.

"It is not just that, it is about getting on with the job of building additional new infrastructure that lifts the opportunity in our economy."

Topics:  asset sales joe hockey

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