On 1 July 2016, the Office of Registrar General was created to monitor and enforce performance of the land titles registry business of NSW Land Registry Services (NSW LRS).
The Government invited the private sector to operate the land title business under a 35-year concession. The concession started on 1 July 2017.
The land valuation and spatial mapping divisions will not be transacted.
- Advice on land title policy and legal matters
- Oversight of the operations of the land title Registry
- Independent arbitration of disputed title boundaries
- Driver of economic reforms in land titling such as e-conveyancing.
On 22 September 2016 the Land and Property Information NSW (Authorised Transaction) Act 2016 was passed. The Act established the mechanisms for the Registrar General to be the regulator of a privately operated land titles business.
Key aspects of this new regulator operator arrangement are:
- Land titles will continue to be guaranteed by the State, backed by the Torrens Assurance Fund.
- The State will retains ownership of all data
- Physical records, primary copies of electronic data and back up copies will be kept in Australia
- Property sales information will continue to be offered by the State under its open data policy
- Prices of regulated services will only be permitted to increase by up to CPI.
The legislation includes a four-year employment guarantee for award staff in LPI.
How does the regulator operator model work?
The Land and Property Information NSW (Authorised Transaction) Act 2016 provides for an authorised operator to operate and maintain the register, the delegation of the titling and registry functions from the Registrar General to the operator, and the functions of the Minister and the Registrar General in overseeing the authorised concession.
The Act makes amendments to the Real Property Act 1900 and other land titles legislation to allow the operator to perform the operational functions of the register, but under the oversight of the Registrar General.
The legislative and policy framework
Under these new arrangements, the Registrar General will be responsible to ensure that the requirements of the Real Property Act 1900, the Conveyancing Act 1919 and other legislation are performed. The power and duty to register dealings and plans will be delegated to the authorised operator, who will be required to comply with all Acts and laws applying to land registration.
The Registrar General will put in place rules and requirements to enable stakeholders to engage effectively with the registry business. These requirements will take the form of lodgement rules. The Registrar General's Guidelines will also continue to be provided as guidelines.
This will mean stakeholders will not experience any material changes in titling processes under the private sector operation.
Oversight of operator
The Government invited the private sector to operate the administration of the titling and registry business of Land and Property Information (LPI) under a 35 year concession. The concession started on 1 July 2017.
The Office of the Registrar General will manage the concession to ensure integrity, security, performance and availability of the NSW land titles system through a range of oversights, rules and directions, quality assurance and strong engagement with stakeholders.
The Land and Property Information NSW (Authorised Transaction) Act establishes standards that the operator is required to comply with, and a penalty regime should the operator fail to comply.
New provisions allow the Registrar General to monitor and enforce the authorised operator's performance in operating the titling and registry services. Performance will be monitored through clearly defined service levels, key performance indicators and obligations that ensure the security of the data.
The Operator will be obliged to report regularly on its performance.
In order to ensure the integrity of the register, both the legislation and the concession arrangements include robust step-in powers.
These can be exercised where there is a threat or a likely threat to the integrity of the register and will allow the Government to operate the business if this becomes necessary in emergency circumstances.
The Government is committed to protecting and promoting competition and innovation amongst information brokers, service providers and others who are in the business of providing access to titling and registry services or offer products that use information from the registry. The Land and Property Information NSW (Authorised Transaction) Act 2016 requires that the concession includes measures that protect competition in downstream markets.
The Government will continue to make property sales information available under the Open Data Policy.
The Land and Property Information NSW (Authorised Transaction) Act 2016 specifies that the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 applies to the private operator as if it were a public sector agency in the same way that it currently applies to LPI titling and registry Services.
Administrative review powers
The Government has amended the Real Property Act 1900 to give the Registrar General administrative review powers. Any person dissatisfied with a decision of the authorised operator can apply to the Registrar General for review. The operator will be required to give effect to any decision of the Registrar General made as a result of a review.