IT is too soon to ask questions about whether the privatisation of Landgate will benefit Western Australians or if any potential sale could lead to the new owner ripping off customers, according to the McGowan Government.
Questions from Echo News about whether the McGowan government may even be considering privatising Landgate if it had not locked itself into not selling off part of Western Power, or if there is a risk privatisation will lead to even bigger staff cuts at Landgate in Midland where there have been reports of 240 employees losing their jobs in the past three years, also went unanswered.
Last week the government announced it had appointed commercial advisor Investec to help with the scoping study to identify options for Landgate’s future.
The government said Investec had a demonstrated track record in the land registry sector, acting as the advisor to the SA government for the 2017 Land Services transaction which outsourced its operations for land titling and valuations.
In December it was reported NSW sold its titles registry for $2.6 billion and that SA sold its titles registry for $1.6b.
Treasurer Ben Wyatt said with a commercial advisor on board, the Treasury and Landgate team would now be working in earnest to determine the best way forward for the significant state asset.
“On consideration of the findings of the report, the government will look to make a decision that is in the best interests of all Western Australians,’’ he said.
REIWA president Hayden Groves said the institute was not opposed to the sale per se of Landgate but was mindful any potential sale of Landgate could result in the cost of land title searches increasing.
“There is value in big data and property is big data and those who own it can make big returns from it,’’ he said.
Mr Groves said the institute would be opposed to any sale if adequate provisions were not put into law to protect real estate agents and the community from spiralling costs.
He said the institute was confident the government would move to act against price gouging if it decided to privatise.
“(Also) as far as I am aware there are no problems in those other jurisdictions with price gouging or similar issues.’’
He said the government had not given a definite time to consult with the institution.
By Anita McInnes