State Parliament was back today after a few weeks off.

Treasurer Andrew Fraser announced the first of the sales of State-owned assets with the licensing of forest land and some familiar faces were back with new titles.

Cathy Niven reports.

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TRANSCRIPT

Contracts for a 99 year licence on a State owned timber plantation were signed today earning $603 million for the State’s coffers.

This was the first of five commercial businesses to be sold, licensed or leased into the private sector.

Treasurer Andrew Fraser says the State Government will make $100 million dollars more than expected in the deal.

Anderw Fraser, Treasurer: “It is a result that dismisses the hysteria of those opposite about the so called fire sales.”

Mr Fraser then assured Queensland forestry workers their jobs and entitlements would be secure for three years.

After making a bigger then expected profit on the forestry sale, the government still intends to continue selling state owned assets.

Ex-LNP member Rob Messenger was back as an Independent and on the attack.

He disputed allegations that taxpayers’ money was spent on personal trips to Townsville, where he met his wife.

Messenger outlined each visit and blamed his former party for a lack of trust.

Rob Messenger, Independent: “Mr Speaker, the member for Southern Downs and his staff have overstepped the boundaries of decency and have overstayed their welcome in this place.”

The crisis over pay for health workers continues.

Premier Anna Bligh told Queensland Health workers a safety net has been put in place so they will get the money owed.

And if they don’t receive it electronically…

Anna Bligh, Queensland Premier: “…does not mean they are not entitled to their pay or there aren’t arrangements in place at every hospital to ensure that they can be paid the old-fashioned way Mr Speaker manually.”

The pay is expected to go into employee’s bank accounts overnight.

Cathy Niven, QUT News