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Annual Report 2007-08 Output 1.8

Legal services and policy advice on personal property securities law and development of a national system for the registration and enforcement of personal property securities

Summary

The Legal Services and Personal Property Securities Division is responsible for Output 1.8. Major work undertaken during the year under this output included the drafting of the Personal Property Securities Bill 2008 and the Personal Property Securities (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Bill 2008 and associated commentary. The Division was involved in extensive consultations on personal property securities (PPS) reform with the States and Territories through a working group established by SCAG and through the COAG framework. A draft intergovernmental agreement underpinning PPS reform resulted from those processes. Major consultations on the reform took place with key private sector stakeholders, such as banks and law firms, at a highly successful series of seminars. A request for tender for the systems design, development and integration services required to implement the Personal Property Securities Register (PPS Register) was also developed. This is scheduled to commence operation in May 2010.

Major achievements

Release of the Personal Property Securities Bill 2008 for public consultation

On 16 May 2008, the Attorney-General released the draft Personal Property Securities Bill 2008 and Personal Property Securities (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Bill 2008 for public comment. Officers of the Division consulted with key stakeholders in developing the Bills and prepared commentary for both Bills to accompany their public release.

The release of the Bills was a significant milestone towards achieving an efficient and effective national system for secured lending over personal property in Australia.

The Bill provides for a PPS Register to be established and maintained by a Registrar of Personal Property Securities. The PPS Register will provide notice of registered security interests, with later created security interests for the same property generally subordinate to existing registered interests. The PPS Register will be accessible, inexpensive and easy to search.

The new arrangements will apply throughout Australia. They will be less complex than the existing arrangements and will lower transaction and compliance costs for all parties involved in personal property securities transactions.

PPS seminar series

During May 2008, the Division conducted a series of seminars on the Bills in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane. More than 600 participants attended the seminars to hear a panel of experts from the legal and finance sectors talk on personal property securities reform. All participants received an information pack consisting of the Bills and commentary on them.

Referral of constitutional power from the States and Territories

Following extensive negotiations with the States and Territories, in March 2008 SCAG gave its in-principle support to a draft intergovernmental agreement underpinning the referral of powers. The agreement is scheduled to be considered at the COAG meeting in October 2008.

COAG Business Regulation and Competition Working Group

At its December 2007 meeting, COAG established seven working groups to pursue its national reform agenda. PPS is on the agenda of COAG’s Business Regulation and Competition Working Group. The Division provided extensive support to the Working Group by preparing meeting papers and briefing Commonwealth representatives.

Release of request for tender for PPS Register

The request for tender for the design and implementation of the PPS Register was released on 16 May 2008. Tenders closed on 27 June 2008. The PPS Register will be a central pillar of PPS reform, allowing real-time updating of and access to information about security interests.

Electronic conveyancing

The Division assisted the Australian Government to progress a national electronic conveyancing system. While conveyancing is a matter mainly for the States and Territories, there is a clear benefit in having a national approach. At its March 2008 meeting, COAG added the development of a national electronic conveyancing system to its agenda.

Outlook

In the 2008–09 financial year, the Division will finalise the PPS Bill for introduction into Parliament, and prepare associated regulations. We will also work with the States and Territories to finalise the intergovernmental agreement on PPS reform and State legislation referring to the Commonwealth constitutional power to enact the PPS Bill.

Another key focus will be the design and build of the new Personal Property Securities Register. We will work with a systems integrator and a range of stakeholders to ensure the delivery of a widely available, accessible and user-friendly register.

The Division will also work with stakeholders on education and change management to assist businesses and consumers prepare for the new personal property securities system.

Performance indicators
Quantitative and qualitative

Output 1.8

Legal services and policy advice on personal property securities law and development of a national system for the registration and enforcement of personal property securities

Activity

Performance indicator

Result

Policy advice provided to ministers Quantity   2006–07 2007–08
Submissions to ministers 12
Cabinet submissions 0
Ministerial correspondence* 11
Responses to questions on notice 0
Briefs 0
Speeches 5
Quality Advice to ministers provided within agreed timeframes Achieved
Extent of satisfaction of ministers as measured by periodic feedback from ministers and their offices Highly satisfied
Timely and sound policy advice and other support to the Attorney-General and the Government on personal property securities issues Quality Extent of satisfaction of ministers as measured by periodic feedback from ministers and their offices Highly satisfied
Management of programs Quality Agreements/contracts reflect Government requirements and are negotiated and implemented within agreed timelines Achieved
Administration of programs Quality Performance of service providers is monitored through regular reports and performance meetings—80% of performance reports received within agreed timelines Achieved

* The number of ministerials relates to the number of actions in relation to ministerial correspondence.

† Briefs include papers on current issues, possible parliamentary questions (new and updated) and meeting briefs.

Performance information for Output 1.8—administered items

Administered Item

Performance Indicator

Result

Personal property securities—public awareness campaign Quality Communication activities evaluated against agreed objectives Not achieved

The new PPS system will commence in 2010. The public awareness campaign will commence in 2008–09.
Budget price: $0.075 million Actual price: nil