PLANS TO use the Victorian e-conveyancing project as the basis for a national system are in doubt following an independent review.
Simon Libbis, executive director of the National Electronic Conveyancing Office, said an Alignment Review commissioned by the National Electronic Conveyancing System (NECS) Steering Committee found only parts of the system developed by the Victorian Government could be used for property transfers across the country.
“The conclusion was we can use this software, but not a huge amount of it,” but those parts that could be used by NECS “we would look at buying” from the Victorian Government, he said.
The review found the electronic lodgement process, which is now being trialled in the first pilot of the Victorian system, had not been designed for multiple jurisdictions, and therefore would have to be re-engineered to take into account variations for property transactions across borders.
“The [Victorian electronic conveyancing system] has been designed and built specifically to meet the requirements of parties dealing in land transactions in Victoria,” the report stated.
“Whilst it is acknowledged that attempts have been made to architect the ECV to accommodate additional jurisdictions the review team is of the opinion that the underlying architecture, particularly the software design of the system, is inadequate to satisfactorily meet the requirements of the NECS.”
It says re-engineering this part of the Victorian system to meet national requirements would be uneconomical and NECS should build the lodgement component from scratch.
However, the report found the financial settlement processes of Victoria’s model could be readily adapted for re-use nationally, as they are not subject to differing rules across the states and territories and are at an early stage of development.
“The detailed functional and non-functional specifications with respect to settlement can be substantially re-used and extended to meet the NECS requirements,” it said. “This is possible due to the non-jurisdictional specific nature of these requirements,” particularly the fact that financial institutions operate on a national basis.
The review recommends NECS focus its efforts on defining and specifying its requirements for the settlement functionality, and works closely with Victoria on how its system can accommodate the NECS requirements.
“Where differences between the NECS requirements and ECV remain, ECV shall have visibility of the differences and may choose to adapt the ECV to accommodate the NECS requirement,” it said.
Libbis said when the report was made in December, there had been “concern from Victoria whether the Alignment Review was correct. They felt that their system could be adapted for the national system”.
As a result, representatives from all states and territories involved in developing NECS will meet for two days in early February to go through the review and “test the validity of our findings”, he said.
Following a review of submissions on its draft of the legal framework that will govern how users such as lawyers and conveyancers will access the new system, the Victorian Land Exchange plans to go ahead with stage two of the project, which will include financial settlement, in the second half of this year.