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SA government privatises land services for over $1bn

SA government privatises land services for over $1bn

Handshake, deal

The South Australian government has been advised on the privatisation of its transactional land services.

Firms: HWL Ebsworth (South Australian government); Allen & Overy (Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets); Baker McKenzie (Public Sector Pension Investment Board)

Deal: The South Australian government sold its transactional land services to a consortium comprising Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets and the Public Sector Pension Investment Board.

Value: $1.6 billion

Area: Government

Key players: The HWL Ebsworth team advising the SA government was led by partner Jamie Restas (pictured) and included partners Kate McKeough, Josh Messing, John Gray, Luke Dale, Peter Campbell, Damien Foulis, Peter Staniszewski and Clare Raimondo, special counsel Samantha Reidy, senior associates Cam Steele, Rebecca Lindhout, Daniel Kiley, Rebecca Sandford and Christopher Bates, associates Sam Christie and Melissa Harvey, solicitors Ben Gulson and Mary Szumylo and graduates Stephanie Kolaczkos and Maressa Bruhn.

The HWL Ebsworth team worked under the leadership of Chris Gray, chief commercial counsel of the Crown Solicitor’s Office. Mr Gray’s team included executive solicitor Hester Daalder, senior solicitor Joseph Maniscalco and solicitor Kate Guy.

Deal significance: The South Australian government has appointed the consortium Land Services SA as its exclusive provider of transactional land services for the next 40 years.

The consortium comprises Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets and the Public Sector Pension Investment Board.

A statement from HWL Ebsworth said key public protections will continue to be guaranteed, including indefeasibility of title, the statutory assurance fund and the government continuing to set regulated fees and charges with no changes other than the standard annual increases.

It has been great to partner with the South Australian government on another pivotal and complex deal for the state which will deliver an excellent result for stakeholders,” said HWL Ebsworth lead partner Jamie Restas.

The privatisation deal will generate over $1.6 billion for the state government.

“The sale will deliver the state an upfront return of $1.605 billion now plus a considerable ongoing royalties stream over the concession period. This is an absolutely outstanding result for the state,” said South Australian treasurer Tom Koutsantonis.

However, there has been significant criticism of the privatisation. The Law Society of South Australia called out the government earlier this year over what it called a lack of transparency in the process.

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