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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 1 Hansard (20 February) . . Page.. 273 ..

Thursday, 20 February 2003

MR SPEAKER (Mr Berry) took the chair at 10.30 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Consumer and Trader Tribunal Bill 2003

Mr Stanhope , pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for the Environment) (10.31): I move

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, the Consumer and Trader Tribunal Bill 2003 establishes the Consumer and Trader Tribunal. The tribunal will replace the existing Agents Board and the five dispute resolution bodies for the security industry. The tribunal will have the jurisdiction conferred on it by the Security Industry Bill 2002 and the Agents Bill 2003. The tribunal will hear disciplinary matters and appeals against licensing and registration decisions made by the Commissioner for Fair Trading relating to real estate, stock and station, business, travel and employment agents, and the security industry.

There are a number of benefits in consolidating the Agents Board and the dispute resolution committees for the security industry into one tribunal. The benefits include improved, standardised and streamlined tribunal processes and standardisation of the appointment process of tribunal members. People who have particular expertise can be called upon when required, as there is no limit to the number of people who can be appointed to the tribunal panel.

There will be greater flexibility for the hearing of matters and disputes in these industries, as the tribunal procedure can vary according to the complexity of the matter. For example, decisions in simple matters can be made with submissions rather than a hearing. In addition, tribunal matters can be heard by one member or a number of members, depending on the complexity of the matter.

There will be greater efficiency than was achievable with the existing resolution bodies. For example, the Agents Board currently sits with seven members, whereas this bill will allow matters to be heard by one member or a number of members, depending on the complexity of the matter. Matters can also be dealt with more quickly, as the tribunal can be constituted by one member and the tribunal can hear security and agents matters on the say day, rather than waiting for sufficient agents or security matters to warrant a formal sitting.

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