1. Relevant Legislation and Directions
This manual covers information related to surveys and plans prepared under the Transfer of Land Act 1893 (TLA) and the Land Administration Act 1997 (LAA) and associated regulations
Surveys and plans prepared for purposes of the Strata Titles Act 1985 are covered by a separate publication - the Strata Titles Practice Manual.
2. New Land Registry Titling System
Landgate implemented a New Land Registry (NLR) Titling System in 2016 that replaced the previous SmartRegister system.
NLR provides for electronic transactions in a web-based application.
All the principles and provisions of the Transfer of Land Act 1893 apply to land transactions in NLR.
More information about NLR and land transactions can be found in the Land Titles Registration policy and procedure guides on the Landgate web site.
3. Land Administration Act 1997
The Land Administration Act 1997 (LAA) modernised Crown land administration in Western Australia. The legislation introduced new practices and policies for the release and protection of the Crown estate facilitating the development of a unique Crown land tenure system supported by a document registration process. Established conveyancing procedures used for freehold land have been applied to Crown land.
The result is a Single Registration System, which simplifies and streamlines many processes relating to the Crown estate. Once the system is fully established a title will be created for all land parcels in the State. This will result in a consolidated register of all Crown and Freehold tenure and interests.
In modernising Crown land administration, relevant Acts relating to the administration of Crown land have been incorporated into the LAA.
The LAA amalgamated:
- provisions in the Land Act 1933 still appropriate for present day requirements,
- sections of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1960 dealing with roads, and
- those parts of the Land Acquisition and Public Works Act 1902 dealing with the taking of land for a public work and subsequent leasing, disposal and compensation.
Land-related provisions in the Land Acquisition and Public Works Act 1902 were removed from that Act and placed in the LAA. There were no changes to the basic principles of road dedications/closures, resumptions and compensation.
The Acts Amendment and Repeal (Native Title) Act 1995 amended the Public Works Act 1902 to enable native title interests to be compulsorily acquired, prior to affected areas of Crown land being dealt with (whether used for a public work, or reserved, leased or granted in freehold).
4. Single Registration System
A major outcome of the Land Administration Act 1997 (LAA) is a single registration system for both Crown and Freehold land in Western Australia.
The LAA resulted in extensive consequential amendments to the Transfer of Land Act 1893 (TLA).
Certificates of Crown Land Title (CLT) and Qualified Certificates of Crown Land Title (QCLT) are created under the LAA for each parcel of Crown land and are issued in the name of the State of Western Australia. Suitable graphics are required to produce these titles.
All dealings, interests, rights and powers affecting Crown land must be lodged with the Registrar of Titles and registered against these CLTs under the TLA to be effective. This reflects the same principles as Freehold land. Crown land records produced since 1989 under the Single Recording System automatically became QCLTs under the LAA and are systematically validated and upgraded to a CLT.
Under the LAA, all interests and other dealings relating to Crown land must be registered at Landgate. This provides customers with the ability to search such dealings in a similar manner as Freehold land.
Crown Grants are no longer issued. Freehold status is given by way of a transfer document registered under the TLA. A Freehold Certificate of Title for that parcel of land is created and registered under the TLA.
There was a transitional period provided in the LAA in which all existing transactions affecting Crown land had to be lodged and registered under the TLA. At the end of this 5 year period, any transactions or interests entered into prior to the commencement of the LAA, that are not yet registered, will still be valid, but such transactions or interests lose priority and are void against any prior registered interest.
It is proposed that Landgate will work towards obtaining certainty of title for all interests in Crown land. CLTs will be indefeasible and guaranteed as to the transactions and interests registered on CLTs in the same way as Certificates of Title for Freehold land.
The Plan Approval process is identical to that for Freehold Plans.
Unlike Freehold land, many interests registered on Crown land remain subject to survey.
5. Changes Introduced by the LAA
The most significant changes introduced by the Land Administration Act 1997 (LAA) were:
- Administrative responsibilities of the Governor devolved to the Minister for Lands.
- Executive Council/Gazettal was replaced by registration of Ministerial Orders – gazettal is for information purposes only and is to be phased out.
- Crown Land Records were replaced by Crown Land Titles created under the Land Administration Act and registered under the TLA
- All transactions in Crown land registered against a CLT to be effectual.
- Warnings that there may be a hazard likely to affect land on CLTs.
- There are no Crown Grants. Freehold status is made by way of a transfer document.
- Plan approval effectual at time of document registration.
- Plans of subdivision (sales) require WA Planning Commission approval.
- Road closure and dedication provisions were removed from the Local Government Act and placed in the LAA (sections 56 and 58).
- The definition of Crown Land was widened to mean all land other than Freehold land, and include land within the limits of the State that form the airspace, seabed and subsoil of coastal waters as defined by the Commonwealth’s Coastal Waters (State Powers) Act 1980.
- Roads can be created in 3 dimensions. A road can be situated in airspace, over water or under ground/water as a tunnel (section 54).
- Expanded powers of the Minister for Lands for the disposal of Crown Land.
- Vesting Orders replaced by Management Orders (section 46).
- Provisions for the creation of Mall reserves – has the nature of a road but managed as a reserve (section 59).
- Positive and Restrictive Covenants and Memorials which constitute a charge against land can be registered against Crown Land (section 16).
- Public access routes can be declared over pastoral leases and Crown land (sections 63-71).
- Transfer of relevant sections from the Public Works Act 1902 to the LAA.