The State Budget delivered last September revealed the Prospect, Modbury and Mitcham Service SA centres would close as part of a broader revamp of the group’s statewide operations.
The Opposition today released FOI documents showing the Prospect centre was Service SA’s second-highest earner with $25.1 million in 2018/19, after the Marion centre’s $25.6 million.
The Modbury centre ranked sixth with $17.4 million, followed by Mitcham with $16.5 million.
The three centres also ranked inside the top 10 for the number of transactions conducted.
Prospect was fourth with 191,747, with Modbury fifth on 176,127 and Mitcham eighth with 151,092.
The Elizabeth office had the highest transaction count of 250,369, while the Adelaide office was tenth with 140,410.
But Labor today accused the Marshall Government of “fiddling with the figures” by removing inquiries and reducing the total transactions count in what appeared to be “a deliberate attempt by the Liberals to artificially deflate the number of people that use and rely on Service SA Centres”.
Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas said the figures were “yet more evidence the Marshall Liberal Government has made the wrong call” in closing the Prospect, Modbury and Mitcham centres.
“Demand is clearly high for these centres. So why close them? This is only making the everyday lives of South Australians harder,” he said.
Transport and Infrastructure Minister Stephan Knoll said that while there was “no doubt” Service SA service quality could be improved, the government had “made it very clear that these centres will not be closing until an alternative service delivery model is in place”.
“That’s why we’re undertaking these reforms, to deliver a better service and help prevent people having to line up at a Service SA centre,” he said.
“At the moment, around 80 per cent of all transactions can be done online – our reforms are looking to deliver better and more convenient services.”
Treasurer Rob Lucas told InDaily in July that he was looking at privatising Service SA because the Liberal Government had been locked into considering selling the Motor Vehicle Registry under a deal Labor made when it sold the Lands Titles Office for $1.6 billion in 2017.
The deal included a separate $80 million contract giving exclusive rights to negotiate for the further privatisation of “other state registry functions such as the Motor Vehicles Registry”.
Lucas said the registry comprised about “97 per cent” of Service SA business.
Under the deal, if the Government doesn’t sell the registry to the consortium or a third-party manager by 12 October, 2020, it must repay the $80 million plus interest or hand Land Services SA an additional seven-year extension to its existing 40-year contract.
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