A paperless conveyancing future in NSW is one step closer, with the NSW Government today announcing plans to accelerate the transition to electronic conveyancing and progressively phase out paper certificates of title in NSW.
The initiative comes amid a nation-wide move towards e-conveyancing, with Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia all recently announcing new measures to transition conveyancing to the digital channel.
Minister for Finance, Services and Property Dominic Perrottet said e-conveyancing had the potential to reduce settlement delays, eliminate reams of unnecessary paperwork, and deliver around $50 million in savings to citizens, businesses and government.
“In 2016, the reality is most property transactions don’t need to be paper based when a cheaper, more reliable, more secure digital option is available,” Mr Perrottet said.
Paper-based and electronic channels for conveyancing have continued to operate in NSW since e-conveyancing was first introduced in 2014. The Government’s plan aims to fully realise the benefits of e-conveyancing by progressively phasing out paper-based conveyancing over the coming years, in consultation with industry stakeholders.
As a first step – and in line with moves announced by the Victorian and Western Australian Governments – by March 2017 financial institutions will be required to lodge certain mortgages and discharges of mortgage via the national e-conveyancing platform, with the issuing of paper certificates of title to banks to be phased out in that time as well.
The Australian Bankers’ Association Chief Executive Steven Münchenberg welcomed the plan, saying, “The ABA supports a nationally consistent e-conveyancing system as a way of creating efficiencies and more certainty for consumers.
“The ABA will be working with the NSW Government on this transition and its timetable, and we look forward to other jurisdictions adopting similar considered approaches so there is a nationally consistent, co-ordinated and timely transition.”
The Government will today begin consultation with financial institutions, legal practitioners, conveyancers and other stakeholders, to develop a pathway to phase out paper-based conveyances by 2019.
Mr Perrottet said, “Across Australia, the future of conveyancing is digital. The benefits are clear, the technology is here, and this is our plan for NSW to lead the way. We are committed to working with all stakeholders to make sure they have the technical capacity, training and resources they need to adapt as conveyancing goes digital.”
The Government is expected to consider the outcomes of the consultation, and the next steps in the transition to e-conveyancing, in the final quarter of 2016.