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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1993 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 19 May 1993) . . Page.. 1613 ..

Under the intergovernmental agreement on the environment the national environment protection authority is expected to be established in 1993. It will establish agreed environment protection measures against which each government will be required to report. These measures are intended to ensure that all jurisdictions will report on their achievement of agreed standards against common criteria and are expected to include assessment of action taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is important to remember that this issue of the enhanced greenhouse effect cuts across a broad range of policy areas. For the strategy to be effective, a critical factor is the integration of greenhouse and ecologically sustainable development considerations into the government decision making process, enabling ongoing government activities to be greenhouse friendly.

In summary, this strategy provides a solid framework for action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the ACT and it will also be supportive of, and complementary to, the ACT environment strategy currently being developed. In implementing this strategy, the overall quality of life we enjoy in the ACT will be maintained and enhanced. I commend the strategy to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Westende) adjourned.

Ministerial Statemen

MS FOLLETT (Chief Minister and Treasurer): I ask for leave of the Assembly to make a ministerial statement on a major overhaul of Australian credit laws.

Leave granted.

MS FOLLETT: I thank members. Madam Speaker, my colleague the Attorney-General attended an extraordinary meeting of the Standing Committee of Consumer Affairs Ministers - it is called SCOCAM - last Friday, the decisions of which have been the subject of recent media coverage. That meeting was devoted entirely to resolving a number of outstanding issues which have delayed the introduction of fair uniform credit laws throughout the nation. Now that those issues have been resolved, the Government will act to implement those decisions and will propose legislation which represents a fair balance between consumers' rights to protection and industry's freedom to trade. Agreement on uniformity was almost achieved in 1991 and 1992 but did not succeed because of changes in position by certain SCOCAM members. Friday's decision is different, however, being reflective of settled government policies around the nation.

Madam Speaker, when I was the Minister responsible for consumer affairs in the first Labor Government after self-government I had some involvement with this matter and I remember the complex and difficult issues that Ministers were asked to consider. I agree with the SCOCAM Ministers' communique issued after last week's meeting that a decision on uniform credit is indeed an historic one, and it demonstrates that even a technical and complex issue like credit law reform can be dealt with effectively in a federal structure of government. At present credit laws throughout Australia are inconsistent about the products covered, the monetary limit to jurisdiction, the application to credit providers, the degree of

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