Significant Issues and Trends
Property market and economy
Property market conditions have remained stagnant across 2017/18, leading to a further decline in land titles management activity, with document registration similar to levels achieved in the early 1990’s. This is considerably lower than the 2017/18 published budget expectations, despite the level of population growth and the increase in the number of land titles in the titles register during this period.
Public sector reform
Findings from State Government reform initiatives including the Service Priority Review, Special Inquiry into Government Programs and Projects, and the Sustainable Health Review, highlighted the potential to deliver better, smarter and cheaper services to the WA community for all Government agencies, including Landgate. As an active contributor to the Service Priority Review, Landgate is sharing knowledge and learning from our own significant internal five-year reform journey, completed in December 2017.
Landgate has been proactive in instigating changes aimed at improving business efficiency including people, process and technology reforms, resulting in a new business operating model. This internal reform program has enabled Landgate to be better prepared to deal with future economic and cost pressures and to realise savings through business efficiencies to improve public policy benefits for WA and provide a greater return to Government. Landgate will maintain our program of continuous improvement through efficiencies in systems, processes and structural reforms and will continue to seek alternative revenue streams and possible investment opportunities on behalf of the State of WA.
Scoping study into the future of Landgate
Following the completion of a detailed scoping study, which carefully investigated options to realise value for the WA community from Landgate’s operations, it was announced that Landgate would be retained, while seeking to commercialise the automated land titling function. The Government also announced it would divest shares in Advara, a product of Landgate’s innovation program.
Commercialisation of land registries in other jurisdictions
In July 2017, New South Wales became the first State in Australia to commercialise its land titles office, realising $2.6 billion. In August, South Australia announced that it achieved $1.6 billion from the sale of its land titling services. Throughout 2017/18, the State of Victoria conducted a scoping study to determine the future of its land titles office, confirming in March 2018 that it too would seek to commercialise certain operations.
Landgate had foreseen this trend and positioned ourselves to be an active participant in this space through its subsidiary, Advara. Since the appointment of Australian Registry Investments (ARI) to run the NSW land titles functions, Advara has acted as a specialist technology consultant to the new operator.
Landgate is committed to supporting Government priorities such as METRONET, Westport and Target120 that are focussed on improving WA’s economy through building infrastructure, promoting jobs, and building more liveable communities.
Landgate supports Government priorities through our work on the Strata Titles Act Reform, which will deliver new development options to help drive economic growth. Community title, leasehold strata and the improved strata schemes can all be used to fully develop activity centres where people work, live and play close to public transport and above train stations, supporting the development of METRONET and station precincts. The positive impact of leasehold strata providing affordable housing, having more development options and streamlining the development process leading to rapid economic growth, has been seen in other countries and States and can do so here in WA.
Landgate is also leading implementation of the WA Whole of Government Open Data Policy and collaborative work to promote data sharing across agencies, continuing WA’s proud history of being internationally competitive by leveraging its resources to achieve a strong economy.
Information and data security has been and continues to be a priority internationally, nationally and at a State level. There has been an increased focus on data security and ensuring that data is appropriately managed on behalf of individuals.
In response to this, Landgate has developed our IT Strategy and Technology Roadmap and will be focusing on a cyber security strategy to address emerging policies.
Landgate further progressed digitisation of our records, data and information that simultaneously ensures the integrity of information assets as well as ensuring that we meet community and governmental expectations of data access. We are also experiencing changing industry and channels to market and a continued prevalence of digital and automation growth in the industry (e-conveyancing).
E-conveyancing continues to revolutionise the way property is transacted and provide support for further real property market reform. Landgate is supporting industry to make the transition to an electronic marketplace for property transactions. Landgate continues to listen to our customer’s requests for increased digital functionality and automation surrounding e-conveyancing. This has been a long journey from 2008, when the Commonwealth and States agreed on a national conveyancing scheme. The Registrar of Titles has introduced regulations (effective from 1 December 2018) requiring all eligible land registry documents to be lodged electronically through an electronic lodgement network such as the one operated by PEXA, in a phased implementation to be completed. WA becomes one of three Australian States that have announced timelines to transition to 100% digital conveyancing and remains at the forefront of industry change.