CANBERRA, Australia — Australia is readying a plan to sell 130 billion Australian dollars ($117.49 billion) in assets ranging from health insurers to electricity poles, hoping to set an example to cash-strapped governments around the world that need new funds to boost their economies.Treasurer Joe Hockey, who will chair a meeting of finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 developed and developing nations this month, said Australia’s conservative government was finalizing a deal with state counterparts to prioritize assets and businesses that could be sold to private investors.
“We are going to free up the capacity to get on with the job of building things,” Mr. Hockey told The Wall Street Journal in an interview at his parliamentary office in Canberra. “We’re going to form a partnership with the states that is going to be rolled out over the next few months, which is hugely exciting, and involves potentially massive transactions that will get the place moving.”
Governments around the world are weighing asset sales to plug holes in their budgets as tax revenues fall. Last year, the U.K. sold a majority of its interest in state postal service Royal Mail UK:RMG +0.25% through an initial public offering in London, raising more than £1.7 billion ($2.8 billion). New Zealand’s conservative government also has raised billions of dollars through selling stakes in power generators and national flag carrier Air New Zealand Ltd. NZ:AIR +0.29% , aiming to return its budget to surplus by 2015.