Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (30 August) . . Page.. 3772..
Consumer credit laws
MR RUGENDYKE: My question is to Mr Stefaniak as fair trading minister. At last month's Ministerial Council for Consumer Affairs meeting in Canberra, which you chaired, was the passage of New South Wales payday lending legislation outside the uniform consumer credit code raised, and was New South Wales threatened with expulsion from the ministerial council?
MR STEFANIAK: I would have to think about whether or not it was raised. I would have to see whether someone else has a memory of that. Whether it is outside the code, my understanding-and I could stand corrected on this-is that that was legislation which had a tick in the box from some agency involved in national fair trading. I will get back to you on that, Mr Rugendyke. I have a mind's eye view that there was something special in relation to that legislation and that it was approved somewhere in that process-certainly not at that meeting. Let me get back to you on that, Mr Rugendyke. What a shame I could not answer Mr Berry's tirade. I had great answers on that one for him.
MR RUGENDYKE: I think you will know the supplementary question, Minister. It is important to clear it up for the Labor Party. If the New South Wales precedent-and it was a precedent-did not result in expulsion from the council, how can the threat to expel the ACT be taken seriously?
MR STEFANIAK: Again, I need to check out the status of the New South Wales legislation. You need to get one thing in perspective here. We are a small jurisdiction. You need to look at some of the ramifications for consumers if we do not follow a major code.
Let us say we went alone and passed legislation and for some reason we did not get expelled. What would happen in the interim? Because we are a small jurisdiction and because credit agencies would be able to hoist extra fees on our consumers, consumers would end up paying more than they pay at present and would pay under a national scheme.
I think what happened yesterday was eminently sensible to the majority of this Assembly. Let us be part of a national scheme and let us not do something that at the very best would pass on unreasonable costs to ACT consumers.
MR SPEAKER: I call Mr Osborne. You have the last question to be asked in this Assembly. Enjoy it.
MR OSBORNE: Mr Speaker, this is a special question. I thought that I would be fair and I approached the outgoing minister for health and offered to ask any question he wanted, although I have reserved the right to ask a supplementary. So here it is.
Mr Berry: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: this is not a question without notice.
MR OSBORNE: Yes it is. He had no notice of it, Mr Speaker.