Government explores privatisation plans

PRIVATISATION: Labor MLC Justin Hanson at the Port Augusta Service SA centre.
PRIVATISATION: Labor MLC Justin Hanson at the Port Augusta Service SA centre.

Service SA centres around South Australia could soon fall under private ownership as the state government explores options surrounding valuation of the public asset.

With plans for the closure of three metropolitan Service SA centres underway, the possibility that the remaining centres could be privatised was raised in State Parliament last month.

The Opposition has accused Premier Steven Marshall of backing a "privatisation agenda".

In July Mr Marshall revealed intentions to privatise the operation of Adelaide's train and tram services.

The 20 Service SA centres around the state serve over 1.4 million people a year and conduct over 4.7 million transactions.

"It's going to have an impact on everyone," Labor MLC Justin Hanson said in a recent visit to Port Augusta.

"In this year's budget we saw an increase in fees and charges out of Service SA of $90 million.

"To give some context to that, some service charges charged by Service SA went up by as much as over 40 per cent. We are going to see that become the norm if Service SA's are privatised and the aim instead of providing service, goes to providing profit for the entity that buys them."

The state government have appointed market engagement firm KPMG and Investec Australia to seek advice on valuation of Service SA.

Mr Hanson said privatisation could lead to the closure of regional Service SA centres.

"Privatisation affects employment and the livability of your town. It's just not as attractive to live somewhere when you have to travel a long way to access basic licensing and registration services.

"Not all licensing and registration services can be done online, not to mention the fact that if you've got a difficulty it's just easier to do it in person than by impersonal app or an online form."

The Transcontinental reached out to Transport Minister Stephan Knoll for comment, but did not receive a reply before the advised deadline.