Privatising LPI - A Win For Footy Fans

Posted at Legal Practice Intelligence - 18 July 2016 - by Peter Frankl

The NSW Government will invite the private sector to invest in and operate the titling and registry business of Land and Property Information (LPI) under a 35-year long-term concession.

Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian announced that the net proceeds will fund new infrastructure across the State, including the stadia package. The stadia package includes a new 30,000 seat stadium at Parramatta.

Footy fans will be cheering but what about everyone else?

"There are some state owned assets that should remain in public hands," said President of the Law Society of NSW, Gary Ulman.

"Our land titles system protects the property interests of all NSW land owners and it is simply not in the public interest for the LPI to be sold off to private enterprise."

Mr Ulman said the LPI provides one of the best land titles systems in the world, and currently returns a healthy dividend to the State.

“Healthy dividend to the State” - enter JP Morgan - who had a closer look at the numbers for the NSW Government.

Is it a surprise that LPI is a lucrative service? The ATO is a lucrative service for the Federal Government. The Office of State Revenue (OSR) is a lucrative service for the State Government.

Why not privatise the OSR or ATO?  

Privatising a service whose revenue is essentially a form of tax, that can only operate as a monopoly, is a worry.

Mr Ulman said that government assurances that services prices will be capped are also of little comfort. "Capping price increases to CPI could put service levels at risk as private investors seek a return on their investment."

Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

“Privatising the registration and recording of land titles in NSW is an unprecedented and reckless experiment in privatising a core part of government.

“The land titling system underpins our entire economy, it is a core responsibility of the state and must be undertaken by public servants.”

The Public Servants Association (PSA) stated: "the community of NSW are set to lose a great deal if this ill-conceived “Baird/Berejiklian” venture goes ahead. The PSA continues to fight against this happening.”

The idea of making a quick buck out of the land titles offices is spreading across the country.

From South Australia:

‘We are obviously disappointed and concerned about the privatisation of the Lands Titles Office’ [South Australia] said the CEO of the Australian Institute of Conveyancers (SA Division) (AICSA), Rebecca Hayes.

‘Given the figure touted for the sale is between $300 - $400 million it appears to be a short term gain for the government, with long term, and yet unknown, ramifications for the South Australian public’.

“Our land titles system protects consumers, maintains a high level of expertise, is efficient and is a system that has supported South Australians well for 150 years” Ms Hayes confirmed.

 

© 2016 Legal Practice Intelligence


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