The Victorian government will partially privatise VicRoads for up to the next 40 years in a bid to rebuild the state’s legacy registration and licensing IT system.
Treasurer Tim Pallas revealed the in-principle decision on Friday, with the state’s roads agency expected to adopt a “joint venture model” for registration, licensing and custom plates later this year.
The decision follows a scoping study that found such a model was the “best way to develop modern registration and licencing services”.
The government has pledged to retain ownership of motorists’ data, as well as the “vital functions” of pricing, road access and safety. It has also committed to retaining all current VicRoads staff.
“We’re going to put in place a joint venture partnership with the private sector to ensure that we get a modernised, adaptable service,” Pallas told a media conference on Friday.
“This is not privatisation, it’s effectively a partnership that hopefully will work for the Victorian people… [and] hopefully get them the IT system they deserve.”
The joint venture will see a private provider rebuild the state’s registration and licensing systems, which have been a thorn in the government’s side for at least the past decade.
The government’s last attempt to rebuild the system, called the registration and licensing (RandL) project, was dumped by the government in 2015 at the cost of nearly $100 million.
Pallas said that the joint partnership would allow the government to deliver a better experience for motorists, while also protecting jobs at VicRoads.
“The private sector is much better at delivering these tools. They are also much better at being responsive to customer needs,” he said.
The government will now develop a joint venture proposal to guide its search for a partner, with superannuation funds, banks and IT firms expected to take an interest.
It is expected to commence any engagement with the private sector later this year.