Next step in Labor’s secret deal for potential privatisation of Motor Vehicle Registry
Friday, 26 July 2019
The State Government has announced it has been required to appoint advisors to seek a ‘confidential and non-binding’ indication of value of the Motor Vehicle Registry, as part of the secret deal done by the former Labor government in its $1.6b billion LTO privatisation.
It is now absolutely clear that if the Labor government had been re-elected they were going to privatise the Motor Vehicle Registry which actually constitutes 97% of all the work of Service SA centres.
Treasurer Rob Lucas said the Government had now appointed Market Engagement Advisor – a KPMG and Investec Australia Limited consortium - to assist the State as part of its contractual obligations and potential due diligence process.
This follows the completion of a commercial scoping study into the potential privatisation of the Motor Vehicle Registry (undertaken by advisors Investec Australia Limited and PricewaterhouseCoopers), which, because of Labor’s secret deal, the Government had been forced to conduct.
Mr Lucas said, in addition to the study, it was necessary to evaluate the possible market value of the untested government asset by inviting the Land Services SA (LSSA) consortium to submit a confidential and non-binding indication of value to assist the decision-making process.
“This is just the next step in a costly exercise that’s entirely due to Labor’s gross deception and deceit,’’ said Treasurer Lucas.
“As part of Labor’s privatisation of the Lands Titles Office, a secret deal was struck which saw the LSSA consortium pay $80 million to be granted an exclusive right to negotiate for the further privatisation of the other state registry functions, such as the Motor Vehicle Registry.
“While we make no criticism of LSSA in relation to this deal, it requires the new Marshall Government to undertake a scoping study for the potential privatisation of the Motor Vehicle Registry.
“I’m advised that if the state and LSSA do not enter a privatisation agreement for the Motor Vehicle Registry by 12 October, 2020, or the state appoints a third party to manage the Motor Vehicle Registry before this date, then the state must elect to either repay LSSA the $80 million, including interest charges at 10 per cent per annum, or grant LSSA an additional seven year extension to the existing 40-year term of the Land Services Agreement.
“Therefore, the total repayment in 2020 under this secret deal if the State Government doesn’t proceed with the privatisation could be up to $104 million. This would be a massive hit to the State budget.”
“Appointing a Market Engagement Advisor is a prudent and cautious approach to help us consider the merits of whether or not to proceed to a formal due diligence process.
“They will lead engagement with LSSA and other key stakeholders, including law enforcement agencies and other jurisdictions, to ensure we have all the information we require to make an informed decision on behalf of South Australian taxpayers.
“Given that 97% of transactions in Service SA centres relate to MVR functions, this complex
possible deal has clear implications on the total operations of Service SA centres.
“Therefore, current DPTI plans for new Service SA models may take longer to deliver whilst this engagement with LSSA continues.
“At this stage, we have made no decision – all we are doing is what we are required to do under Labor’s secret deal.
“The Government will make a final decision in relation to this towards the end of the year.”