Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 3083..
Title agreed to.
Bill, as amended, agreed to.
Private members business
Suspension of standing and temporary orders
Motion (by Ms Tucker ) agreed to, with the concurrence of an absolute majority:
That so much of the standing and temporary orders be suspended as would prevent order of the day No 1, Private Members' business, relating to the Fair Trading Amendment Bill 2002 being called on forthwith
Fair Trading Amendment Bill 2002
Debate resumed from 6 March 2002, on motion by Ms Tucker:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for Women) (5.48): Mr Speaker, credit card usage is a significant financial element of commercial activity in Australia. Recent figures from the Reserve Bank indicate that credit card debt over the last three years has reached just over $82 billion, and the Reserve Bank has confirmed that this figure is still increasing.
Individual consumer purchases on credit cards per account increased by 79 per cent over the same three-year period. The growth rate for credit limits per account was 17.2 per cent in the year to November 2001, up on 14 per cent ion November 2000 and 11.7 per cent on November 1999.
The Fair Trading Amendment Bill 2002 represents Labor government policy and represents good law. The bill is almost identical to a bill introduced by Mr Rugendyke last year which the government supported in principle but agreed to the adjournment of debate on, noting that it would be overtaken by amendments to the consumer credit code at the ministerial council meeting in November that year.
Although foreshadowed changes to the consumer credit code are still on the ministerial council's agenda, the matter has not progressed as quickly or as well as the government had anticipated. Accordingly, as Ms Tucker has introduced this bill, we are prepared to support it as an interim measure.
The problem of credit card overcommitment is an enormous problem which this government is committed to resolving.
Ms Tucker's bill will amend the Fair Trading Act 1992 to require all ACT financial institutions to undertake a satisfactory assessment of a borrower's capacity to repay credit offered under a credit card contract. In undertaking such an assessment, credit providers will be required to obtain from consumers a history of their financial circumstances. The history will include, but not be limited to, details of income, all credit accounts held, limits, balances and repayment commitments. All credit providers will