In preparation for the introduction of National Electronic Conveyancing (NEC), South Australia is proposing to introduce Verification of Identity (VOI) requirements from 1 July 2013. This follows New South Wales and Western Australia implementation of VOI procedures on 1 November 2011 and 1 January 2013 respectively. Queensland’s VOI provisions are included in the Department of Natural Resources and Mines Land Title Practice Manual issued under section 286A(2)(c) of the Land Act 1994 (QLD Land Title Practice Manual) and have been in place for some time ( 2005). These are currently being reviewed. Draft VOI rules for South Australia have been released for consultation.
The Model Participation Rules drafted by the ARNECC have also been updated with its most recent version being released in April 2013.
The rules specify a verification of identity standard, however, mortgagees are able to adopt a different standard provided they are satisfied reasonable steps have been taken to identify the mortgagor.
Due to this flexibility, differences exist between the VOI standards adopted or proposed by each state. No formal VOI policy has been introduced in Victoria, Tasmania, Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory at this time.
In brief, New South Wales’ VOI provisions are similar to those of Queensland. South Australia is proposing to adopt a more onerous VOI standard similar to that of Western Australia.
In Queensland and New South Wales, mortgagees are required to take “reasonable steps” to confirm the identity of the mortgagor. “reasonable steps” will be considered to be taken:
- New South Wales: if a mortgagee complies with the steps required under the Commonwealth Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML/CTF Act)
- Queensland: if a mortgagee complies with the practices contained in the QLD Land Title Practice Manual to the extent they may reasonably apply. (These reflect the “100 points identification” provisions under the Financial Transaction Reports Act 1988 and the Financial Transaction Reports Regulations 1990).
Compared to Western Australia and South Australia, in Queensland and New South Wales:
- there is no separate identity standard that applies to documents executed in a foreign country and
- there is no requirement for a visual identification of the mortgagor.
New South Wales is the only state that is not required to complete a certificate certifying confirmation of the identity of the mortgagor or to provide a separate statement to the Registrar General.