Secret Labor deal for privatisation of Motor Vehicle Registry

The former Labor Government concealed a secret deal prior to the state election to privatise the
state’s Motor Vehicle Registry.

As part of Labor’s privatisation of the Lands Titles Office, a secret deal was struck which saw the Land Services SA (LSSA) consortium pay $80 million to be granted an exclusive right to negotiate for the further privatisation of other state registry functions such as the Motor Vehicles Registry.

“The Labor Party’s utter contempt for South Australians is on full display in this secret deal made prior to a state election, and there are now serious questions for former Ministers to answer in relation to this outrageous deception,” said Treasurer Rob Lucas.

This deceit is clearly demonstrated by the press release issued by former Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis on 10 August 2017, which only indicated ‘The Government will receive $1.605 billion in an upfront payment which includes certain optionality for the life of the contract.’

“There was no reference at all to the possible privatisation of the Motor Vehicle Registry,” said Mr Lucas.

“It is now in the public interest and also for the sake of transparency and accountability that former Ministers Tom Koutsantonis and Stephen Mullighan reveal publicly why they kept this deal secret, and also reveal all details of this secret deal.

“This secret deal will now require the Government to undertake a scoping study for the 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.

“The Marshall Government makes no criticism of LSSA in relation to this deal.

“Clearly Mr Koutsantonis and Mr Mullighan must come out today and be accountable to the South Australian public for this secret deal made prior to the state election.”

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