SA govt pockets $1.6bn from land titles business

MACQUARIE and Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board have made a winning $1.6 billion bid for South Australia’s Lands Titles and the State Valuation Office.

SA Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said the deal will see Land Services SA become the exclusive service provider for the state’s transactional land services.

As part of the deal, Land Services SA will adopt the existing Lands Titles Office information technology systems.

Under the 40 years commercial contract, the government retains key legal, policy and regulatory functions and responsibilities while Macquarie and PSPIB will process transactions.

The contract includes a commitment by Land Services SA to establish an Innovation Hub in Adelaide, provide $35 million in ICT investment in South Australia and to work with local digital start-ups.

The government also will receive an ongoing royalty stream that can be invested in critical infrastructure and essential services. There is an option to extend the contract.

The Treasurer said the sale will deliver the state an upfront return of $1.605 billion now plus a considerable ongoing royalties stream over the concession period.

“I am also very pleased to say that all protections for the people of South Australia, that I announced in last year’s budget, will be achieved, including indefeasibility of title, continuation of the current fees and charges regime, strong protections for privacy and data security, and maintaining current service delivery standards.

“South Australians will notice no change in the services they receive through these functions. Clearly, South Australia is a very attractive investment destination for financial institutions with this deal involving three of the five major banks which are subject to the South Australian Major Bank Levy,” Koutsantonis said.

The majority of remaining staff will either assist with the transition to the new service provider or be placed in positions for functions retained by government following consultation which is underway.

South Australia is following in the footsteps of the NSW government which also leased the Land and Property Information’s titles and registry service to Hastings Funds Management and First State Super for $2.6 billion in April this year.

The Victorian government is also looking to cash in on the state’s land titles office.

Australian Property Journal