It’s a stinker alright. An essential government service and profitable monopoly has gone offshore. Privatised. Zero consultation, widespread protest from professional groups. And the funds will be used to refurb a couple of footy stadiums.

At first glance, it seems the secretive auction of the NSW Land & Property Information Office (LPI) appears to have been won by a local syndicate; First State Super and Hastings Funds Management that is.

Searches of the corporate registry however show that their bidding vehicle, called Australian Registry Holdings, is owned by RBS Pension Trustee in London. Why would local funds managers be using a parent entity in the UK? Is there a tax haven connection behind it?

Whatever the case, this is just another disappointing failure by an Australian government to govern on behalf of its citizens. Alas, NSW is not alone.


Land titles office: another privatisation for the Caymans?

A few weeks ago it was reported in The West Australian newspaper the WA government, without even a tender, sold a $140 million IT contract for just $2 million. There was no tender.

“The contracting deal is part of a push for the WA land-title registry to play a role in the privatisation of other registries across the country and overseas, by selling its purpose-built registry system as a service,” said the report.

Ironically, the entity which won the mandate was the same entity to advise First State and Hastings in NSW.

Advara is a joint venture between Landgate and Swiss outsourcing giant Adecco. Advara will provide all Landgate’s IT services using Adecco subsidiary Ajilon. Ajilon will also source and manage any new third-party contracts for IT services needed by Landgate, said the report.