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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 3089 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

This is one of the interests to keep in mind when we deal with credit overcommitment. There is positive work going on to develop paths to credit for low-income people-for instance, the micro-credit schemes being developed by the Brotherhood of St Lawrence in Melbourne. This kind of work is an important complement to the measures to ensure lenders are responsible lenders.

Members will see on circulated amendment a handwritten deletion. Previously the requirement was for a complete statement of the debtor's financial situation. Mr Stefaniak raised concerns about the potential for this to become an overly onerous statement and gave an example of a potential debtor being asked how much cash they had on their person.

Having consulted with other members, I am happy to remove the word "complete". The important information is listed separately, being income and debt commitments. This does not preclude someone including in their statement an amount of cash or assets if this is relevant, as the list is not exclusive.

The amendment also moves unchanged the more general definition of "satisfactory assessment process" from the definitions section up to this active section for clarity. As explained when the bill was tabled, this general definition is based on language in the consumer credit code and is intended to refer to the criteria allowed in the code for reopening a credit contract.

Amendments 7, 8 and 9 adjust the definitions for the proposed new section 28A to reflect the changes made by amendments 3 to 6. Specifically, amendment 7 notes the definition of "credit card" by referring to the existing definition at subsection 28 (4). Amendment 8 removes the definition of "credit contract" and replaces it with a definition of "continuing credit contract". This is a technical term, so the definition makes this clear by referring to the consumer credit code and by including a note which quotes the technical definition from the consumer credit code. I have included so much detail because "continuing", as we all know, has an everyday meaning which could confuse interpretation were it not spelt out in this section.

Amendment 9 removes the definition of "satisfactory assessment process", which has been moved up to subsections 28 (A) (2A) and (2B) by amendment 6.

In closing, I would like to reiterate that this is an interim step and a small step. I believe it will ensure that credit providers comply with the spirit and intent of the consumer credit code in this area. But there is more work to be done. I encourage the government to continue to press for work at the national level. I am also keen to follow the progress of micro-credit and other innovative schemes to assist low-income people and to see what can be done here along those lines. I thank members for their support.

Amendments agreed to.

Clause 6, as amended, agreed to.

Title agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

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