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Certificates of Title

Question asked in Parliament July 27, 2016

The Hon. J.A. DARLEY ( 14:39 :16 ): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Police, representing the Attorney-General, questions with regard to certificates of title.

Leave granted.

The Hon. J.A. DARLEY: In about 1990 the Bannon government decided to computerise the Torrens Certificate of Title Register. The manner in which this was undertaken did not require the whole register to be computerised at once, but rather certificates of title were digitised whenever a transaction occurred on that title. Recently a decision was made to computerise all the remaining paper certificates of title. However, I understand the staff who undertook this task may have lacked the necessary experience in the Torrens Title system, as quite a number of errors have been discovered. I am advised by members of the conveyancing profession that the error rate can be as high as 8 per cent to 10 per cent.

  1. Can the minister confirm this error rate and, if so, what action is being taken to correct these errors?

  2. In view of the recent decision to remove the duplicate certificates of titles, which was a cornerstone of the Torrens Title system of registration, to be replaced only by a receipt, if requested, can the minister advise what proportion of all certificates of title have no action on them within a 20 to 50 year time frame and how are these errors ever going to be detected and therefore corrected?

The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Police, Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Road Safety) ( 14:40 :48 ): I thank the honourable member for his questions, particularly on a subject I know he has an enormous degree of passion and interest in. Obviously, I will refer the question to the responsible minister in the other place and seek to get a response as quickly as practicable.


Sept 20, 2016

In reply to the Hon. J.A. DARLEY MLC (27 July 2016)

Hon Peter Malinauskas MLC: The Attorney-General has advised:

“The Lands Titles Office has advised that in the initial months of the ‘Conversion Project’ in the early 1990, there was an error rate of 2-3%. These errors were analysed and rectified at that time. 12 months into the project, the error rate was recorded at less than 1%. It is worth nothing that 99.5% of all the Register was converted to an electronic file in the year 2000 and the error rate now remains considerably lower than 1%.

Errors cannot be known until they are discovered (this usually occurs when the owner wishes to deal with the land) – appropriate action is taken at this time. Irrespective of when an error may become evident, at all times the source Certificate of Titles resides in the custodianship of the State and remains there indefinitely.”