Macquarie and Canadian pension fund buy SA government asset

The Land Services SA consortium, made up of Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets and one of Canada's largest pension investment managers, has secured South Australia's land services and lands titles office for $1.6 billion.

Macquarie, in conjunction with the Public Sector Pension Investment Board, will gain exclusive rights to act as service providers for South Australia's transactional land services for a 40-year concession period, and commercialise related data subject to Government approvals.

The government will retain key legal, policy, regulatory functions and responsibilities, the power to set prescribed fees and charges for land services, and the right to receive an on-going royalty stream which can be invested in infrastructure and essential services.

Commenting on the sale, South Australian treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said the deal was "an absolutely outstanding result for the state," adding that the new service provider will reduce future operating costs to government, drive innovation in customer service, promote investment in systems and reduce risks to government in future ICT upgrades.

"South Australians will notice no change in the services they receive through these functions," Koutsantonis said.

Land Services SA is expected to make offers of employment to a significant number of staff who currently perform transactional land services, and a small number may be placed in alternative positions in the SA public sector or managed in accordance with usual Government practice.

The contract also includes a commitment by Land Services SA to establish an Innovation Hub in Adelaide, provide $35 million in ICT investment in South Australia and to work with local digital start-ups.

The sale follows a similar move by the New South Wales government in April, which awarded the right to run the Land and Property Information tilting and registry services to a First State Super-Hastings led consortium for $2.6 billion.

Following a competitive tender process, the government entered into a binding agreement with the consortium, Australian Registry Investments (ARI), comprising 80% institutional investors (which includes First State Super and Hastings) and a 20% stake held by the Royal Bank of Scotland Group's pension fund (also managed by Hastings).

About $1 billion of the proceeds are intended to be used to upgrade Parramatta and ANZ Stadiums and refurbish Allianz Stadium, while the remaining $1.6 billion will be invested in other infrastructure projects through the Restart NSW fund. About 30% of proceeds will also be spent in regional NSW.

Land Services SA will progressively assume responsibility for land registry and property valuation services during the coming months.

Read more: SALand ServicesSouth AustraliaPensionCanadaMacquarie InfrastructureTom Koutsantonis
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