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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 March 2010) . . Page.. 1234 ..

In May 2011, Australia will transition to a single national register for personal property security interests. This will be a significant reform from the current situation where more than 70 separate pieces of legislation from each state and territory govern the use of personal property as security in a loan agreement. Underpinning these 70 pieces of legislation is a large number of separate registers that record interests in personal property. Where a loan is sought, the lender must check across multiple registers to ascertain if the property offered is actually already being used as security. Where matches are found, different legislation creates different rights and obligations across all the parties. This situation creates uncertainty for all involved. And this uncertainty acts as a disincentive to lending money and increases the interest rates on loans when they are able to be secured.

To address these issues, COAG agreed in 2007 to establish a single national law and register for all personal property security interests. The proposal requires a referral of power to the commonwealth from the states and territories. The introduction of the national register will bring all existing information together in the one definitive register of personal property securities. The register will be online and easily searchable, which is also a significant improvement on some of the paper-based registers currently in existence. A single national law and register will increase certainty for both business and lenders, increase availability of finance and decrease the costs of doing business in Australia.

Four states have passed the required referral legislation, with Western Australia and Tasmania due to legislate in 2010. The ACT must do its part in this national reform. The Greens support the policy objective and the single national register approach to delivering the objective. We believe that emerging businesses, in particular, will be better supported by this reform. Businesses attempting to enter the marketplace face significant start-up costs. For many, taking out a loan will be the only way to meet those costs. By making finance easier to secure, and potentially cheaper, this national reform will reduce the barriers faced by emerging businesses.

The Greens believe there are entire new industries waiting to be founded in the economy of the future. New businesses will be in demand to supply those industries with labour and enterprise. The Greens note that the national register lays important groundwork in preparing for the economy of the future and are particularly supportive of that aspect of the reform. As I said, we will be supporting this bill.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (12.09): The Canberra Liberals will be supporting this bill. It transfers to the commonwealth the ACT’s regulatory powers in relation to the registration of personal property that is used to secure financing. This is a part of a national approach to merge all state and territory registers into one register, maintained by the commonwealth.

There are four major elements to the bill.

First, the commonwealth, by arrangement across all jurisdictions, is to assume national control of the regulation of personal property security registers. I note from the Attorney-General’s presentation speech that this may occur from May 2011, but the actual date has not been finalised.

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