Law Council of Australia
’s CEO has declared “everyone will lose” from the proposed lease of NSW’s land and property information unit to the private sector.
Speaking with the Sydney Morning Herald
, Jonathan Smithers has said the privatization plan risked a piece of critical infrastructure that underpinned billions in activity.
Smithers said the “very bad idea” could result in a number of adverse consequences that outweighed the benefits and that everyone will lose in the long run.
"Since the data is still going to be owned by the government and price rises are capped, the private operator is going to run it more cheaply to make a profit, meaning consumers will end up paying more for a lesser service,” Smithers told the SMH
Law Society of NSW president Gary Ulman has said the land titles registry lease legislation should be repealed to protect the integrity of the state-owned ‘monopoly’.
"The registry is a precious asset of the state and its real value lies in its sustained integrity and the role it has in supporting the property market and the wider economy," he told the SMH
"The UK government saw the light. It realised there were IT risks, risk of fraud, risk of corruption, and it didn't make good economic sense to have a one-off cash grab,” he said.
The NSW government hopes that funds raised by the circa $2 billion lease will fund upgrades to ANZ Stadium as well as the rebuild of Paramatta Stadium.
However, the legal bodies have argued that safeguards proposed by the government do not adequately address the potential risks of leasing the unit to the private sector.
Previously, ACCC chairman Rod Sims said privatization of monopoly infrastructure only works when there is a competitive market or appropriate regulatory arrangements.