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WA embraces paperless conveyancing

By Juliet Helmke
08 August 2023 | 9 minute read
john carey wa housing minister reb ecpfrs

Western Australia will no longer be issuing paper Certificates of Title, with the state going fully digital as of 7 August.

As part of the Transfer of Land Amendment Act 2022 changes, WA has transitioned away from issuing Duplicate Certificates of Title, which are paper versions of the original Certificates of Title held by Landgate, WA’s land title registry.

The titles are now fully digital, with the government advising that all paper certificates are now only “historical keepsakes”, and not legal documents.

A number of other Australian states have already made this move, and WA notes the change will contribute to creating “a more modern conveyancing system”.

It is one of three legislative changes to the Transfer of Land Act 1893, which also include enabling electronic service of notices and clarifying the definition of counterpart documents. These changes also take effect on 7 August.

Though Lands Minister John Carey described this change as “a significant milestone”, he noted that this change does not alter the implications of property ownership, registered interests, or encumbrances.

Now, property owners and stakeholders can access a digital copy of the original Certificate of Title via Landgate, to ascertain the current registered proprietor(s) (owners), registered interests or encumbrances, such as leases, mortgages and easements.

Mr Carey commented that the digital system that holds these titles is safeguarded by strong cyber security practices, and pointed this change is part of keeping up with the progress.

This has been a journey of more than 25 years, following Duplicate Titles being made optional back in 1996, with more than half of all freehold titles already having no Duplicate Title,” he noted.

Ending the use of Duplicate Titles in WA will progress electronic conveyancing and contribute to simplifying the lodgement of property transactions while ensuring information is kept accurate and secure.


Juliet Helmke

Based in Sydney, Juliet Helmke has a broad range of reporting and editorial experience across the areas of business, technology, entertainment and the arts. She was formerly Senior Editor at The New York Observer.

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