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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 7 Hansard (17 August) . . Page.. 2400..

(2) The Canberra Times. $11,396.

(3) Chief Minister.

Consumer protection

(Question No 1158)

Mr Stefaniak asked the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 8 June 2006:

(1) What progress has been made in the review and consolidation of consumer laws;

(2) When will this review and consolidation process be completed;

(3) When will the associated review and consolidation of business licensing procedures to reduce the paperwork associated with these processes be completed;

(4) What have been the outcomes of this process.

Mr Corbell

: The answer to the member's question is as follows:

(1) The ACT has a considerable body of legislation dealing with consumer protection and business licensing/registration. For a number of years, it has been recognised that this legislation is fragmented and a considerable amount of work has been put into examining ways in which this legislation might be reconstructed and consolidated to streamline and simplify the provision of services to both consumers and businesses. During the course of this review process, departmental officers developed a comprehensive model law process for the application of inspectorate search and seizure powers across the whole of ACT Government agencies within a human rights framework.

(2) A single regulatory body to administer regulatory services for the whole of government has now been created. The Office of Regulatory Services will provide simplified and streamlined licensing and registration processes across a broad range of ACT regulatory schemes. It is expected that proposals reflecting these changed circumstances will be provided to government later this year. It might be expected that once government has had an opportunity to consider this advice that various legislative amendments will be prepared.

(3) The review and consolidation of business licensing/registration procedures has been integral to the general review of consumer protection and fair trading laws. Officers are now working to determine appropriate changes to legislation to support the Office of Regulatory Services.

(4) The restructuring and consolidation of ACT fair trading/consumer protection and occupational licensing laws will create a simplified, accessible and user-friendly body of law, delivering a range of positive outcomes for consumers and businesses. The consolidation will deliver improved accessibility by consumers, businesses, lawyers and other users of the applicable laws, better compliance outcomes delivering higher levels of consumer satisfaction, and a reduction in regulatory red tape for ACT businesses.

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