The permanent move to electronic transactions as outlined by the federal government as part of JobMaker will lead to positive outcomes across the property industry, according to the Real Estate Institute of Australia.
A statement from the group has said that it welcomes the “streamlining for Australia’s property industry”, as announced on 29 September by the Prime Minister and the Treasurer.
The JobMaker Digital Business Plan will see almost $800 million invested into enabling businesses to harness digital technologies to grow their businesses and create jobs as part of the economic recovery plan in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison acknowledged that as a result of the pandemic, “many businesses moved online quickly when the pandemic hit, undergoing a decade of change in months, finding new customers or new ways of doing things”.
He said the plan “supports Australia’s economic recovery by removing outdated regulatory barriers, boosting the capability of small businesses and backs the uptake of technology across the economy”.
The element that has the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) excited is the indication of a consultation on “making permanent the temporary reforms to allow companies to hold virtual meetings and execute documents electronically”.
According to REIA president Adrian Kelly, the permanency of electronic transactions outlined in the plan would lead to positive outcomes in property and other areas.
“The amendments required, while simple, will improve efficiency and productivity in transactions within the property industry,” he said.
“As one of many stakeholders promoting the acceleration of digital technologies that are contactless and more efficient, we believe virtual meetings and electronic documentation will also make it easier to do business and transact property, which will benefit all real estate stakeholders,” the president outlined.
It would mean that documents will be able to be validly executed without having to physically print and sign the same hard copy.
Mr Kelly also took the opportunity to echo the Australian Banking Association’s (ABA) calls for state and territory jurisdictions to follow suit in opening up to the digital economy.
ABA CEO Anna Bligh had said “it’s now vital that state governments follow suit, and work together through the national cabinet to ensure state and territories laws are consistent and enable consumers to conduct a range of everyday activities such as electronic mortgages”.
Mr Kelly added that “state and territory laws should be consistent and enable consumers to conduct a range of property-related activities, including mortgages”.