The Labor Opposition launched a dramatic bid in the NSW Parliament today to prevent the $2 billion-plus sale of the land titles registry.

With just two days to go before final bids are made for the Land and Property Information unit, NSW Labor gave notice it will table legislation that gives MPs a chance to reject the planned privatisation.

Failure to act means the 150-year-old organisation will most likely pass into the hands of overseas-based consortia, and with it control of and access to the records of every single property in NSW.

Bidders have until this Thursday to finalise their bids with the NSW Government.

Everyone from the real estate industry, the legal profession and past and present employees are united in their opposition to the sale. Along with the Labor Opposition they fear a privatised entity will:

  • Hike up conveyancing and land title fees;
  • Take 400 jobs offshore;
  • Force homeowners to take out title insurance;
  • Be unable to guarantee the safety and security of people’s sensitive documents about bankruptcies, marriages, divorces and deaths, which are lodged as part of the title transfer process.

The registry delivers annual profits of at least $130 million to the state – meaning that over the life of the 35-year lease over $4 billion of revenue that would help pay for essential services such as hospitals and schools will disappear.

Labor will table a private members bill on Thursday to repeal the legislation that triggers the sale.

Quotes attributable to Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“This sale is nothing short of a scandal. Of all the privatisations that this Government has pursued this is the one that flies in the face of common sense.

“The only people that want this sale to go ahead are the Premier, the Treasurer and a handful of bankers and lawyers who stand to receive a fat pay cheque once the sale goes through.

“Among the bidders are consortia that are based offshore, which means they can avoid paying tax, make a buck and can shrug off their responsibility to the people of this state.”

Quotes attributable to Shadow Finance, Services & Property Minister Clayton Barr

“The Government has absolutely no capacity to protect the private details of NSW citizens and they will have no powers to investigate the use of this private information by the new owner.

“More people will be forced to take out land title insurance because the privatised entity will not be able to guarantee it can cover the cost of any mistakes. That cost will be shunted to the homeowner.”