Why does the government own businesses? Many government-owned businesses were originally established to overcome perceived shortcomings in the market, for example, to provide strategic infrastructure services that commercial businesses would not provide, deal with natural monopoly situations, support state economic development and achieve a more socially desirable outcome (Queensland Treasury, 1992, p. 6). In the early 1990s the Queensland Government commenced a microeconomic reform process to enhance the efficiency of Queensland’s industries, particularly government trading activities. There was an acknowledgement that to achieve the maximum efficiency gains, government trading activities needed to be placed as far as possible on a commercial basis in a competitive environment. The government moved to commercialise its trading enterprises under a policy of corporatisation (Queensland Treasury, 1990, p. 1).
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