Damien Perrottet, deputy to the new NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, is retreating from the former Baird government’s plan to sell a 35 year lease of the NSW land titles register.

NSW’s conservative government is ahead in the polls – and Berejiklian appears determined to keep it that way, even if it means abandoning unpopular measures.

Selling off the land registry is very unpopular – key landholder groups like the Property Council of Australia NSW and the Real Estate Institute of NSW are vehemently against it.

The most telling critic is the Law Society of NSW:

“Our opposition to the sale is not grounded in any vested interest and serves no commercial value to lawyers. Nor do we have any ideological opposition to privatisation. Rather, our roles as lawyers afford us an objective appreciation for the innate value of the LPI as an independent public asset, one that underpins over $1.2 trillion in real estate and $130 billion in economic activity every year.

“It is not an understatement to say the LPI is the foundation upon which the NSW economy rests. The integrity of LPI and the public’s confidence in the registry fortifies those foundations, preserving the wealth of hundreds of thousands of homeowners and investors across the state.

Prosper Australia loathes the idea of a private land registry: land holding ceases to be a matter of public record and it creates yet another private monopoly. This can only heap additional costs on everyone holding land in NSW and legitimate users like police tracking criminals or statisticians mining data.

These matters tower over the NSW government claim income from the sale will be spent building shiny new sport stadiums. They must think we are stupid. All income goes into Consolidated Revenue; all expenditures come from there. To hypothecate one to the other is like pouring fresh water into the sea and expecting to scoop up something worth drinking.

Give it up. Give it all up – the sell-off and the hypothecation politics.