Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (26 October) . . Page.. 2062 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General and Minister for Consumer Affairs) (10.32): Mr Speaker, I present the Sale of Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 1995, together with its explanatory memorandum.
Title read by Clerk.
MR HUMPHRIES: I move:
That this Bill be agreed to in principle.
Mr Speaker, I am sure members are aware of the essential role motor vehicles play in today's society. They not only provide a person with greater social mobility and enhanced recreational opportunities but may in many cases be the only means of transport an individual has. This can be critical in some jobs. For most consumers the purchase of a motor vehicle represents the most significant financial commitment they will make apart from the purchase of a home. It is essential, therefore, that consumers be properly protected when purchasing a vehicle and that the market operate efficiently and fairly.
The Sale of Motor Vehicles Act was introduced in 1977 to encourage fair trading amongst persons engaged in the selling of motor vehicles in the Territory. The Act provides for a Registrar of Motor Vehicle Dealers who may license persons to carry on business as licensed dealers. Under the licensing regime dealers are required to keep records of second-hand vehicles at the point of sale, maintain trust accounts and keep records in respect of all vehicles sold on consignment and contribute to a motor vehicle dealers compensation fund for the purpose of compensating purchasers of vehicles in certain circumstances.
The Act protects consumers by requiring dealers to display certain information such as the age of the vehicle, make, odometer reading and asking price on a notice attached to each second-hand vehicle displayed for sale and otherwise regulates the way dealers may advertise. The Act also requires dealers to provide warranties on new and used vehicles, and repair any defect in the vehicle which occurs or becomes apparent within a prescribed period, unless they have otherwise notified buyers in accordance with the Act prior to sale.
Since the Act came into force in 1977 no substantial review of its operation has been undertaken. It has become clear that the Act has not kept up to date with current consumer protection principles or with modern commercial practices. It is out of step with interstate developments. In addition, motor dealers have expressed concern that amendments to New South Wales legislation now impose warranty provisions that are substantially different from, and much less onerous than, those in the ACT.