ELNO interoperability

A message exchange system between ELNOs

A sustainable market that gives choice to customers

Today, all parties to a conveyancing transaction will have to subscribe to the same Electronic Lodgment Network Operator (ELNO) to complete the transaction. This is because ELNOs are unable to exchange information, or ‘talk’ to each other, to complete a transaction. With more than one ELNO now operating in NSW, lawyers and conveyancers should be able to transact efficiently and securely while only subscribing to the ELNO(s) they choose.

One solution is to require ELNOs to connect their back-end systems, or ‘interoperate’. The concept of interoperability is familiar from other industries – for example, Telstra customers can phone Optus customers without having to set up an account with Optus. Similarly, in eConveyancing, with interoperability, conveyancers or lawyers who subscribe to one ELNO will be able to complete a transaction with conveyancers and lawyers of another ELNO, without having to subscribe to all operating ELNOs. Of course, the messaging between ELNOs will present different issues to those of phone operators, but the principle remains the same. The What is interoperability page has more detail.

On 7 September 2020, all states and territories supported the principle of requiring interoperability between ELNOs in the Electronic Conveyancing National Law (ECNL). In addition, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia further agreed to develop the technical and regulatory regime for legislation to be in place by mid-2021, with the aim to have the solution live as soon as practicable, and by no later than the end of 2021. Tasmania noted that it was taking steps towards implementing e-conveyancing locally.

Ministerial direction on a competitive market structure in the eConveyancing market

ARNECC position statement on market structure

Next steps

Registrars continue to work with industry to develop a national solution to interoperability. Ministers have agreed in principle to working towards the following dates:

  • September to November 2020: consult on draft regulatory approach and draft Bill for updating eConveyancing National Law to require interoperability between ELNOs
  • November 2020: Governments to consider updated draft Bills
  • February 2021: introduce the Bill to NSW and, once passed, amended legislation is automatically adopted in ACT, Qld and Vic. From February 2021: remaining jurisdictions submit corresponding legislation to their parliaments
  • Mid-2021: legislation in place
  • Ongoing: developing of technology and testing for interoperability with an aim of being live as soon as practicable and by no later than the end of 2021
Registrars’ work builds on the substantial analysis to date

This includes Centre for International Economic’s cost benefit analysis; The final Tech Report prepared by Mr Glenn Archer, drawing on the industry technical working groups; and an insurance review by Willis Towers Watson, as well as the IPART report and the NSW Nicholls working groups in 2019. It is designed to complement and support the investigations by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), and the review of the eConveyancing Intergovernmental Agreement.

The Reports and Reviews page has more information about this work.

Working with industry

It is crucial that government partners with industry, to achieve a reform that meets industry’s needs. NSW Office of the Registrar General (ORG) and participating jurisdictions recognise the significant amount of time and expertise that this partnership approach demands of industry, and is grateful for industry’s ongoing commitment to this process.

Further expert work

Registrars are working with industry experts on specific issues, to develop a national interoperability solution. The workstreams are:

  • Regulatory workstream, including a regime to update the ECNL, Model Operating Requirements (MOR) and Model Participation Rules (MPR), an insurance framework, which draws on the insurance review by Willis Towers Watson (please see Reports and Reviews) and consideration of liability issues in an interoperable transaction;
  • Technical workstream, including ongoing review of cyber security issues. Registrars are considering two technical models , as shown on the What is interoperability page; and
  • Implementation workstream, including reviewing the costs and timeframes associated with the regulatory and technical approaches.

The Interoperability Industry Panel page has more information on how we are working with industry through a panel comprising all Registrars, industry and peak bodies.

More Information

For updates on the progress of interoperability, please subscribe to the Registrar General emails.

Subscribe

The peak body in your State or Territory can also assist with further information.

The South Australian Government also provides an overview on interoperability and the work it is doing as a member of this ARNECC process. Please visit the Government of South Australia's eConveyancing website:

Government of South Australia's eConveyancing website