State Enterprises Act of 1918
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State-owned enterprises was a concept shared by both sides of the political divide in the Australian colonies during the late 19th century, and in 1892 it became a major plank in the Queensland Labor party platform. Rather than attempting to nationalise entire industries, Labor’s State Enterprise Scheme introduced by the Ryan government after winning power in 1915 was specifically aimed at purchasing or establishing businesses to compete with private enterprise and, it was hoped, reduce prices for Queensland consumers. When the State Enterprise Bill was rejected by the Legislative Council, Ryan resorted to administrative rather than legislative action. Under his successors, the government’s acquisitions included butcher shops and pastoral properties, a state insurance office, fishery and trawler, mines, sawmills, cold stores, a cannery, produce agency, hotel and state lottery. Although most served their purpose they proved to be heavy financial burdens, and it came as no surprise that when Labor was finally defeated in 1929 existing state enterprises were largely sold off by the new government led by Arthur Moore.


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