Most Qld property lawyers still waiting on clear rollout of electronic conveyancing

A new study finds Queensland is lagging behind other states in implementation

Most Qld property lawyers still waiting on clear rollout of electronic conveyancing
Queensland property lawyers want a clear update on the rollout of the state’s electronic conveyancing framework after years of waiting, according to new research.

According to GlobalX, 84% of lawyers and conveyancers in Queensland welcome the move to electronic conveyancing and are waiting for the Queensland Title’s Registry to implement the timeframe for the smooth introduction of the framework in the state. The research also found that more than 91% of respondents view electronic conveyancing as inevitable, with 72% saying it would positively impact the industry.

But the industry has waited years for guidance. The Electronic Conveyancing National Law (Queensland) was introduced in May 2013 and the Payroll Tax Rebate, Revenue and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2015 (Act) was introduced in June 2015.

“Despite the move by other state governments to phase in electronic conveyancing, Queensland is yet to provide industry guidance,” Peter Maloney, GlobalX CEO, said. “It really is disappointing for Queensland lawyers who often operate across multiple jurisdictions and are therefore having to operate two different systems. Take the lawyer working in Goondiwindi settling a property for a client in Boogabilla – two states, two systems. This situation is even more extreme in highly populated border towns in the Tweed Regions.”

The registries of New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, and South Australia have all published guidelines for the implementation timeframe of electronic conveyancing in their jurisdictions. All property transfers in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia will be digital by August 2019.

GlobalX also said that wait is impacting large and small law firms alike.

“The current paper-based process in Queensland means that five separate documents must be fully signed – and just one missing signature can completely derail a settlement. This process is in dire need of reform and Property Exchange Australia (PEXA) offers an innovative solution,” Maloney said.

The lack of a clear timeframe in Queensland may also be becoming a burden to other states.

“It’s time that our government provides certainty for the industry in the form of regulatory change, as the industry will benefit enormously if the Queensland government communicates an implementation timeline, instrument by instrument, in a phased and considered approach. The reality is electronic conveyancing requires a network effect – all providers need to be operating on the platform to generate the greatest economic benefit to the industry, government and consumers,” Maloney said.

PEXA CEO Marcus Price said, “Without certainty around how property transactions will be required to be completed in future, firms must support both manual and electronic processes; a costly and inefficient outcome that misses out on delivering the market efficiencies e-Conveyancing was designed to create. Buying property can be very stressful and online conveyancing offers a chance to alleviate that stress. The sooner that property professionals, buyers and sellers move to a digital system, the less processing errors will occur, creating ease of mind for everyone involved.”

Related stories:
Top firm completes first PEXA property transfer
Tech-enabled collaboration essential to legal sector’s future – minister

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