New Technology for a New Century
International Conference 
FIG Working Week 2001, Seoul, Korea 611 May 2001



Keith C. BELL and Elizabeth O'KEEFFE, Australia

Key words: Reforming the Cadastre and Land Management in Government.


All Australian states and territories are reviewing their regulatory frameworks for surveying under the auspices of the National Competition Policy. The State of Victoria is at the forefront of land administration reform, pursuing an innovative agenda of technological, institutional, legislative and regulatory change to improve its cadastre. Victoria broadened the scope of its review far beyond competition policy outcomes to enhance the performance of the land surveying industry, improve the quality of the cadastre and deliver better services to the community.

Land Victoria, the agency with overall responsibility for land administration, has established a very comprehensive program of reform that will amongst other things result in the implementation of a modern spatial data infrastructure, that best serves the needs of government, industry and the broader community. This reform program is called Property Online.

Reform of Land Surveying in Victoria is a major project being undertaken by Land Victoria through the Surveyor General, to improve the regulatory framework for professional surveyors. Victoria is also driving the national reform agenda for land surveying which will see governments focus on the setting of standards and monitoring of the inputs to the cadastre, whilst industry takes on accountability for the regulation of competency and providing enhanced services to consumers.

The Victorian Government has been the reform pacesetter in rewriting laws little changed from the 1880s. It is nearing the end of an extensive consultative process involving the surveying industry, the public sector, academia and stakeholders from the broader land development and property-related industries to re-scope the surveying regulatory framework for the State.

This paper discusses the reform of land surveying in Victoria and the vision for the cadastre.


Keith Bell was appointed the 24th Surveyor General of the Australian State of Victoria in August 1999. The Office of the Surveyor General Victoria is a division within Land Victoria, of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment. Keith is also the Chairman of the Surveyors Board of Victoria and the Registrar of Geographic Names.

Previously, Keith was the General Manager of the Australian Capital Territory Government's Land Information Centre (ACTLIC) for three years and prior to that a senior manager in the Australian Surveying and Land Information Group (AUSLIG) in the Commonwealth Government. He has also worked in the Queensland Government.

Victoria is currently reforming its regulatory system for land (cadastral) surveying, which includes the introduction of new legislation, regulations and standards. Regulatory reform is a key component of Victoria's broader reform agenda for the cadastre, which is seeing the transformation of largely paper-based information infrastructure into a modern spatial data infrastructure with effective institutional and regulatory frameworks and technology-efficient business processes.

Keith has overall responsibility for the Reform of Land Surveying in Victoria project. In addition, Keith as the Victorian representative on the Intergovernmental Committee on Surveying and Mapping for Australia and New Zealand, is the Chairman of the Cadastral Reform Permanent Committee.

Keith's early surveying career has included working offshore as a hydrographer and in the geophysical exploration industry. In addition Keith has served in the Australian Army, in both the regular and reserve forces.

Originally from the state of Queensland, Keith Bell is a licensed surveyor and chartered professional engineer. He is a graduate of the Queensland University of Technology and in addition holds a Master of Surveying and Mapping Science from the University of Queensland, Master of Business Administration from Deakin University and Graduate Diplomas in Management and Human Resource Management from the University of Canberra.

Keith is a Fellow of the Institution of Surveyors Australia (ISAust), the Institution of Engineers Australia (IEAust) and also the Australian Institute of Management (AIM). Also, he is a Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the Mapping Sciences Institute of Australia (MSIA).

The position of Surveyor General of Victoria is the oldest, and only continuous government position in Victoria, excluding the State Governor. Next year marks the 150th anniversary or sesquicentennial of the Surveyor General of Victoria.


Keith C. Bell, RFD
Surveyor General of Victoria
Department of Natural Resources and Environment
2/456 Lonsdale Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Tel. + 61 3 9603 5182
Fax + 61 3 9603 5216

Elizabeth O'Keeffe
Executive Director, Land Victoria
11/8 Nicholson Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Tel. + 61 3 9637 8244
Fax: + 61 3 9637 8110
Email: elizabeth.o' 

23 March 2001

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