Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 4 Hansard (25 March) . . Page.. 1592..
MRS DUNNE (continuing):
time called for. It was also covered in the draft legislation that the MTA presented to JACS in August last year. I note the committee heard that Mr Corbell would introduce an occupational licensing scheme if the advisory committee recommends it when it reports on the first year's operation of the act.
The committee also raised the question of specific competencies and noted that ministerial direction could also be given in relation to this matter. It was also noted that, if such a scheme arises, the advisory committee would provide the minister with advice in relation to training and recognition of prior learning. There was also discussion on unskilled repairers and backyard operators.
I note that the advice given to the committee by the officials was that any relevant ministerial direction, along with false or misleading representation provisions that comprise one of the government's amendments today, will work to thwart the activities of those operators. The code committee has accepted the advice on these matters and supports the amendments in relation to this ministerial direction; on the basis of that, we will also.
Amendment 2, which we also support, requires an operator to display a sign indicating that disposal of parts attracts a fee. It also requires the operator not to charge that fee, or to refund it if it has been paid, if the customer chooses to take the parts away. This was a matter raised with me previously by the MTA in response to the bill as it was presented in November last year. Their concern was that the bill as it stands, which requires operators to dispose of parts at their own expense, could lead to illegal dumping, with the consequent adverse impact on the environment. It could also lead to inflated repair prices as operators try to recover the cost of disposal.
The government's approach in the bill demonstrates its inability to think things through. It also demonstrates that, had it consulted industry on the matter, it might have been all the wiser so that the approach could have been changed at an earlier stage—that is, before the bill was ever presented to the Assembly. But it is encouraging that the government has, at the behest of the industry, seen the light and proposed the change, which we will support.
Amendment 3 establishes an advisory committee whose functions will be to advise the minister on amendments to the act in relation to: licensing, registration or training of people in the industry; matters affecting the interests of consumers; unfair commercial practices, for example backyard operators; environmental issues in relation to industry waste; ministerial directions on equipment, materials and skills; and anything else given under the act.
It sets out the construction of the committee as being the Commissioner for Fair Trading, who will be the chair, and six members representing interests other than government. Further, it sets out operational matters. Importantly, this amendment requires the committee to report to the minister one year after commencement. It is to report on a range of matters, allowing the committee to consult with a range of stakeholders and requiring the minister to table the report—sadly, within six months.
The MTA is concerned that the amendment fails to require the minister to implement the recommendations of the committee. While I am sympathetic to that concern, I also