CONVEYANCERS do not want the requirement to start electronically lodging certain documents relating to the registration of interests in land made compulsory at this stage, according to East Metropolitan MLC Charles Smith.
On Friday, April 13 Lands Minister Rita Saffioti said WA registrar of titles Jean Villani had extended the deadline to start electronically lodging certain documents from May 1 to December 1.
Mr Smith said there had been a number of members of Parliament including cross-bench members who had been lobbying Ms Saffioti to delay the introduction of the e-conveyancing system.
“If this PEXA system was introduced into the Regulations without further consultation, the cross-bench would have moved a ‘Disallowance motion’ into Parliament to stop it going any further,’’ he said.
“One Nation WA is delighted to see the Minister now seeing common sense on this important issue, as another defeat in the Legislative Council was on the agenda for this dictatorial Government.’’
Landgate has a 12 per cent shareholding in PEXA, which stands for Property Exchange Australia Ltd – Australia’s first electronic lodgement network.
PEXA allows lawyers, conveyancers and lending institutions to lodge land registry documents such as mortgage, discharges of mortgage, transfers, caveats and withdrawals of caveat online.
The PEXA website says the network offers fast access to cleared funds with electronic settlement, safe encrypted signing and funds exchanged via the RBA and efficient settlement with real-time lodgement of documents.
In March Landgate chief executive Jodi Cant said traditionally conveyancing was a cottage industry but after a Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreement all states and banks agreed to update the conveyancing system, which would also allow customers access to lower cost transfers.
Ms Cant said as well as Landgate three other states, the Big Four banks and other commercial entities were also PEXA shareholders.
She said it was hoped that at the end of the year PEXA would head to either a trade sale or to an IPO (initial public offering).
Echo News asked if the decision to extend the deadline to start electronically lodging certain documents relating to the registration of interests in land to December 1 would delay the sale and whether PEXA’s value had been conservatively estimated at $80 million to $100m.
She said the registrar of titles’ decision was not directly related to the PEXA sale.
“PEXA’s future is a matter for PEXA to decide,’’ she said.
“Over time, Landgate has invested around $38m in PEXA.
“What PEXA’s future looks like, and the value of Landgate’s shareholding should there be an IPO, is merely speculation.’’
Ms Saffioti said the extension would provide the industry – including settlement agents and lawyers – with more time to prepare for the transition to electronic conveyancing.
She said while many industry practitioners were already transacting electronically others required more time to ensure a smooth conversion.
“Electronic conveyancing will ensure the state maintains best practice systems, which provide superior protection of Western Australians’ property assets from fraud while meeting consumer expectations around the ease and efficiency of online transactions,’’ she said.
“This is a pragmatic and sensible approach to ensuring the conveyancing industry can move as one toward electronic transactions in good time.
“Electronic conveyancing is the simplest, fastest and safest way to conduct property transactions within the digital economy.
“The industry is encouraged to work as one to adopt the new practice before the December 1 deadline for the benefit of consumers, the property sector and to further strengthen integrity of the state’s land titles register.”
By Anita McInnes