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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (13 March) . . Page.. 998 ..



from the requirement that there be a licensee in charge at each place of business under a licence.

A register of licensed and registered salespeople and details of disciplinary action taken against agents will be maintained by the ACT Office of Fair Trading. The register will be available for inspection by the public. This reform creates a greater degree of transparency and openness in the disciplinary process for agents, sadly missing in the old act. The regulations will prescribe details of disciplinary action to be included in the register. The purpose of the register is to provide as much information as possible to assist consumers with the choice of appropriately licensed and competent persons.

The legislation makes it clear that licensees are responsible for the actions of their employees in tort and contract. Licensees will have no excuse to distance themselves from the wrongful actions of their employees.

A consumer compensation fund will continue to operate to protect consumers in the event of a financial collapse of a licensed real estate, stock and station or business agent. The bill also addresses concerns expressed by the Auditor-General over some years now about the manner in which interest is calculated on agents' trust accounts used to fund the operation of the regulatory system for agents. The bill now requires all banks to pay interest on trust money at 70 per cent of the bank bill rate.

Lastly, the bill does not alter substantially the licensing and other requirements for travel and employment agents.

Mr Speaker, I am confident that the reform proposal in the Agents Bill will improve the commercial working environment for consumers and agents in the ACT. My government remains determined to maintain the momentum of improvements, through further consultation with industry, consumers and other jurisdictions, as the regulations are developed.

I take the opportunity to thank all those who have made a contribution to the development of the bill, thanking them also for their positive reactions to the government's reform proposals. Not least amongst those people is former member of the Assembly Mr Harold Hird. I thank him for his thoughtful and useful comments, noting that he has been advocating many of these changes for a number of years now.

I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stefaniak ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Legislation (Statutory Interpretation) Amendment Bill 2003

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

Title read by Clerk.


(Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for the Environment) (10.41): I move:

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