Mr Dominello was in the hot seat in question time yesterday in Parliament not only about the leak to the SMH, but also about that which he wrote in The Australian in November about the move to full electronic conveyancing … that the NSW Government ought accept PEXA as a natural monopoly … and move to regulate it like the leased Land Titles operator
That it was the job of the NSW Government to ensure the strength of econveyancing not of PEXA
To which the Australian Banking Association submitted that the current interoperability design and timeline could result in $MILLIONS in increased costs. Others complained about the ‘probity’ of the process
Minister Dominello’s cousin conveyed concerns on system
NSW Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello’s cousin, conveyancer Beth Dominello, personally lobbied the minister about issues she had with the national electronic conveyancing system around the time the minister said he wanted NSW to reform the system to allow competition.
Beth Dominello, of the Bond & Bond law firm, late last year told industry sources she would be talking to the minister and his office about concerns she had with the system, operated by a company known as PEXA.
Mr Dominello, around the same time, announced he wanted to introduce an “econveyancing interopability regime” where other suppliers could enter the NSW market.
The minister, who faced heat in question time yesterday over a police investigation into the leak from his office of confidential information involving hundreds of motorists, has since been accused of rushing the econveyancing reforms and of potentially costing consumers more by attempting to get them in place so quickly.
Mr Dominello’s office yesterday said, in answer to detailed questions from The Australian: “The minister received an email from his cousin regarding her experience of using the econveyancing system as a practising lawyer. Her inquiry was referred to the department by the minister’s office for a response.”
Asked to release the email, a spokesman said: “We will not be releasing the email. In relation to your other queries, the minister has no further comment.”
The spokesman declined to say if Mr Dominello and his cousin had had phone conversations on the issue.
Ms Dominello’s father, Joe, who has worked at the Bond & Bond law firm with Ms Dominello, told The Australian yesterday Mr Dominello’s cousin had raised PEXA issues with the minister.
He said he would pass a message to Beth Dominello to respond to The Australian’s inquiries. Ms Dominello did not respond.
Mr Dominello wrote in The Australian in November of the move to full electronic conveyancing: “People rightly look to NSW to show leadership when it comes to national reform.
The easy path would be for the NSW government to … accept PEXA as a natural monopoly, and then move to regulate it in a similar way to our recently leased land titles operator, with strict controls on price, commercial operations and security. We have unashamedly chosen to pursue the latter path — the key to which is interoperability (sharing information).
“For years, what was good for econveyancing was good for PEXA. This is no longer true. As the two causes diverge, it is the job of the NSW government to ensure the strength of econveyancing — not of PEXA.”
A submission from the Australian Banking Association to the Office of the Registrar-General dated March 1 said of Mr Dominello’s proposal:
“The timeline set by the NSW government for establishing a regulatory framework for mandating electronic lodgement network interoperability leaves insufficient time. The current interoperability design and timeline could result in millions of dollars in increased costs as the banks will need to create and maintain payment gateways … and build them in record time.”
Other submissions to the government have complained about the “probity” of the process.
Mr Dominello came under attack in question time yesterday over revelations in The Australian his office was told to destroy a departmental document containing private details of hundreds of motorists, including then NSW opposition leader Michael Daley, but the spreadsheet ended up in the hands of a journalist.
Mr Dominello was yesterday asked five questions by the opposition, including when he realised the privacy breach had occurred.
The minister responded: “It would be inappropriate to comment on this matter until the investigation is completed.”
The opposition’s acting Legislative Assembly leader, Ryan Park, called Mr Dominello a “disgrace”.