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.