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Push to require parliamentary approval of privatisations

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Any privatisation of a state-owned asset in South Australia would have to be approved by both houses of parliament, under new legislation set to be tabled by the Greens next week.

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The proposed law change would also require a parliamentary committee to review any push to privatise an asset and table a recommendation on the decision in both houses of parliament.

Committee reviews of privatisations were a key recommendation of a select committee report into privatisation tabled last year.

Greens MLC Robert Simms, who will table the bill when parliament returns next week, said both the major parties had a “terrible track record” on sales of public assets.

“This bill would act as an important safeguard on public assets – ensuring that governments can’t conduct future sell-offs without appropriate parliamentary oversight,” he said in a statement.

“Privatisation was a key issue in the recent state election and South Australians are reeling after the privatisation of our public transport network and the disastrous effect this has had on services.

“I’m hoping all sides of politics will get on board with this simple reform that would safeguard our public assets into the future.”

It comes as the new Malinauskas Government looks to tear up a eight-year, $2.1 billion contract the State Government has with Keolis Downer to run Adelaide’s train network.

The private operator won the contract following the Marshall government’s privatisation of the state’s rail network in 2020.

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