Australian miner BHP Billiton and its Japanese partner Mitsubishi have made a joint offer of $2.7bn (A$3bn) to buy state-owned Queensland Rail, according to The Australian.

The offer is aimed at scrapping the Queensland Government’s recently announced plans to hold an initial public offering (IPO) of Queensland Rail by the end of 2010.

The planned IPO is an effort by the state government to reduce a $2.1bn (A$2.35bn) budget deficit.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch, NM Rothschild & Sons and Royal Bank of Scotland Group have been hired as advisors for the IPO.