Australia plans to sell up $117 billion in assets

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Associated Press

Posted on February 12, 2014 at 9:00 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 12 at 9:00 PM

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australian Finance Minister Mathias Cormann says his government is discussing with state governments plans to privatize assets to raise as much as 130 billion Australian dollars ($117 billion) across the nation.

The revenue-raising negotiations come as the International Monetary Fund highlighted the challenge Australia faces to return its budget to surplus following the global financial crisis.

Cormann on Thursday was not specific on what assets were being considered for sale, aside from his government's plan to sell health insurer Medibank Private, which is estimated to be worth up to AU$4 billion.

Treasurer Joe Hockey, who chairs a meeting of G20 finance ministers in Sydney this month, will likely reveal more of his privatization plans when he delivers his conservative government's first annual budget to Parliament on May 13.

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