The move towards electronic conveyancing has gathered pace following the Queensland government’s decision to join a national initiative that could eventually see the end of the current paper-based system.
Natural resources and mines minister, Andrew Cripps, said the Electronic Conveyancing National Law (Queensland) Bill 2012 – which was introduced to parliament yesterday – would allow Queenslanders to benefit from participating in a national electronic conveyancing system.
“The national electronic conveyancing system will mean reduced costs and greater certainty that settlement will take place as scheduled,” Mr Cripps said.
“The costs for solicitors and financial institutions to use the electronic lodgement network will be less than the cost of existing charges, such as bank cheques and fees for couriers and settlement agents. E-conveyancing avoids delays in settlement due to errors in documentation, saving time, inconvenience and additional costs of removal, storage and accommodation.
“In some cases settlement delays can result in the forfeiture of deposits.”
The new system would bring Australia in line with New Zealand, which already operates an electronic conveyancing system.
Mr Cripps added that the new national system takes into account that many financiers and businesses operate across Australia.
“The system involves an online ‘hub’, which can be used throughout Australia to create land titling documents such as mortgages, and digitally lodge them into the appropriate land registry in any state and the Northern Territory,” he said.
“The system will also cater for the electronic financial settlement of conveyancing transactions and payment of associated state duties and lodgement fees.”
Mr Cripps said Queensland’s legislation mirrored that of New South Wales.
“New South Wales has been established as the host jurisdiction with other participating states and the Northern Territory adopting nationally consistent legislation,” he said.
“The proposed legislation does not change Queensland’s substantive land laws as the system relates only to the settlement and lodgement aspects of conveyancing. Use of the system will be completely voluntary and the paper-based process for conveyancing transactions will continue to be available.
“National e-conveyancing will be implemented gradually, commencing in Victoria around April 2013 and is expected to be available in Queensland in late 2013.”