EVERY single person in Bathurst should be worried about the lease or sell-off of Land and Property Information (LPI), according to Labor’s Shadow Finance Minister Clayton Barr.
A Sydney media report late last week said the LPI would be leased to help fund the NSW Government’s $1 billion upgrade of Sydney sports stadiums.
The LPI in Bathurst employs 229 people, but Mr Barr said it was not only these people who should be concerned.
“We are all going to pay for this,” he said.
While admitting it was a complicated issue, Mr Barr said many people and organisations use the LPI’s data every day.
He said if this data was controlled by a private contractor after the LPI was leased or sold, then costs would rise.
Mr Barr said LPI data was sought for every land purchase, whether retail, commercial or rural, to check boundaries and survey markers.
He said financial institutions lent mortgage money based on “government-backed”, reliable LPI data, but fears this will change if the private sector takes the services over.
“We’ll now have to take out insurance on property searches,” Mr Barr said.
LPI data is also sought by local councils, for a nominal fee, for every development application considered.
The state’s emergency service groups also use LPI data for missing person searches and to help plan during incidents.
As recently as October 2013, plans for the privatisation of the LPI were dumped by the NSW Government.
The Western Advocate reported in October 2013 that the then Finance and Services Minister Andrew Constance gave assurances to LPI staff in Bathurst that there were no imminent plans to privatise.
He was accompanied at the time by Member for Bathurst Paul Toole, who said then that “there is no plan to privatise, sell off, or close LPI”.
Mr Barr said the loss of public sector jobs had a far greater impact on regional cities, like Bathurst, than on metropolitan areas.
“People have based their lives and families on the fact they would have good, reliable public sector jobs,” he said.
He said data should not be sold because it’s “the most valuable thing we have”.