What is the meaning of ‘public authority’ for notices caught by section 32D of the SL Act?

Public authority is not defined in the Sale of Land Act 1962 (Vic)  however it is defined in section 4 of the Charter of Human rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic) for the purposes of that Act which is a useful guide.

The section includes multiple notes and examples and has 11 parts to the definition most notably:

  • a public official within the meaning of the Public Administration Act 2004 (Vic)
  • an entity established by a statutory provision that has functions of a public nature
  • any entity whose functions are or include functions of a public nature when it is exercising those functions on behalf of the state or a public authority.

In conveyancing transactions the most common public authorities would be a local council and water and sewerage authorities.

A common question asked is whether an asbestos report obtained by a vendor from a private company a notice for the purposes of section 32D. This would not be caught but a notice from the Environment Protection Authority to clean up asbestos would be caught as the EPA is clearly a public authority.