The e-settlements service provider lauded the passing of the Electronic Conveyancing Amendment, calling it a major precedent for interoperability in the industry across the country.
According to Sympli, the NSW Parliament’s stamp of approval on the bill — which requires all national electronic lodgement network operators (ELNOs) to “interoperate’’ with each other — will help drive real competition in the industry.
“This is such a vital piece of legislation for the entire industry as we work towards interoperability by 2023, in line with the mandated ministerial timeline,” Sympli chief executive officer Philip Joyce stated.
The adoption of the bill into law comes after it was brought to the state’s Parliament on 15 February 2022, with the aim to provide the basis for a national scheme for the electronic lodgement and processing of conveyancing.
Upon acknowledging the major stakeholders that had a hand in the bill gaining traction, Mr Joyce also expressed his optimism that the adoption of the legislation would be followed by the rest of the country.
“Now it has been passed by the NSW Parliament, it will automatically be passed by the other states,” he said.
He added: “Whilst there is more to be done, the bill should send a clear message to the incumbent’s board and executive about the necessity to reengage and help deliver a safer, more secure, more competitive ecosystems for the betterment of customers.”
Mr Joyce explained that the ECNL would signal to all industry players that interoperability will become a norm and serve as a guide for businesses and other bodies to make investments that are towards building a competitive market that offers customers more options.
He also warned that customers would bear the brunt of any further setbacks in achieving this endgame.
“There is no longer any reason or justification to delay interoperability. All industry stakeholders must now work together to ensure the mid-2023 deadline for full interoperability is achieved, safely and securely,” Mr Joyce said.
Aside from the customers, Mr Joyce emphasised that the ECNL provides a “golden opportunity” for industry providers to “introduce resiliency” and address the monopoly problem in the e-conveyancing sphere.
“Today if the monopoly’s system crashes, as it did most recently on 30 June 2021, home buyers [and] sellers could be stranded or lose their life savings. Interoperability enables us to collaboratively design a system to mitigate that risk,” he stated.
“That would be an incredible legacy of this reform but can only happen with all stakeholders’ contribution.”
Despite the warm reception from Sympli, it should be noted that the Australian Institute of Conveyancers (AIC) had previously criticised the bill’s introduction as rushed and without appropriate consultation.
The body has also warned that in its current form, the bill would be at the expense of consumer protection.