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South Australia

The change ahead. By Miriam Errington, Tuckfield Conveyancing

The change ahead. By Miriam Errington, Tuckfield Conveyancing

The imminent arrival of e-conveyancing in South Australia will bring a welcome change

Change freaks us out.  But progress is impossible without change.  Changes to the legislation are happening now.  What does this really mean for you?  The general conveyancing process is not going to change.  We will still have Contracts, Form 1’s, settlement statements and special meter readings – just as we are all comfortable with now.  But what will change is the way we settle transactions (e-settlements, if you will). 

On 14 April 2016, the Real Property (Electronic Conveyancing) Amendment Bill 2016 was passed in the House of Assembly.  It is imperative that every conveyancer in South Australia understands the amendments to the Act because moving forward, regardless of whether you complete a settlement using paper or electronic, the law around it will be the same. 

The buzz around e-conveyancing is how we are going to implement these changes in our offices so that we comply with the new legislation.  Because obviously with new legislation, comes new penalties for non-compliance.  If we aren’t keeping up with the constant changes in the next few months, there is no doubt that we will be left behind.  It’s all a bit daunting and I don’t want to sound like Mary Poppins, but a positive attitude is the first step to ensuring e-settlements are successful in South Australia.

It may be a long, frustrating road ironing out all the issues that are going to arise but looking at the big picture, this new system will revolutionise our industry and it is a good thing!  We all laugh and joke about how bank cheques at settlements seem ancient, but we like it because it works and we don’t want to change it.  Resisting change is going to stop our industry progressing and moving forward.  There is a lot of training (and re-training) ahead for us but if we broaden our view and look outside our offices we will see the benefits not only to us, but more importantly, to our clients.  In a world where everyone wants everything yesterday, immediate registration, cleared funds and increased speed and efficiency of settlements all has to be a good thing.

There will be marked changes in the banking industry also, with them looking to introduce the New Payments Platform (NPP) in 2017, which will enable us to make real time transfers to any banking institution 24 hours a day, 7 days a week not only in businesses but personal transactions as well.  This will be extremely convenient and will change the way we do banking, but the NPP has been years in the making.  As has E-conveyancing, the biggest step forward being the introduction of the VOI in 2014.  In the early days, there was a lot of negativity around the Verification of Identity, but we are all doing it like its second nature, now that we can see how it fits into the bigger picture with the implementation of Client Authorisations. 

There is no doubt that the introduction of e-settlements will re-shape the conveyancing world but we should be trying to embrace the changes rather than resist them.  At the moment, the electronic environment seems like a double edged sword.  That may be the case initially, but the only way it is going to work and be successful is if we all come together as an industry and make it happen.  To quote Steve Jobs, “Great things in business are never done by one person.  They’re done by a team of people.”

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