Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 11 Hansard (21 October) . . Page.. 3835 ..
MR STEFANIAK (continuing):
sensible measures from across the border, this one does seem quite sensible to the opposition and we are supportive of it.
The bill also provides that the Fair Trading (Consumer Affairs) Regulations can adopt consumer product safety standards produced by the organisations setting standards. These regulations can include offences, with penalties which will not exceed 20 penalty units, which is $2,000. Again, New South Wales already does that, as does the Commonwealth, I understand.
There are also some amendments dealing with certificates. Certificates are often issued saying that an item-for example, a laser toy-is a safe item and can be sold. The manufacturer provides a statement on that to a retailer and the retailer then includes that in the toy sold to the public. These amendments contain a provision to make retailers liable if they do not have a certificate. Initially, I thought that that might be a bit unreasonable, but it is quite obvious that the manufacturer has a duty to provide a statement to the retailer and the retailer is merely providing that with a certificate to the consumer, so we do not have any problem there.
The government has consulted the Law Society and the Public Trustee about the amendment to the Legal Practitioners Act in relation to unclaimed moneys. In December 2000, the Public Trustee assumed responsibility for the functions of the then Registrar of Unclaimed Moneys. A strict reading of section 200 of the act provides no basis for payments to be made to the Public Trustee. The amendment corrects that anomaly by enabling payments to be made to the Public Trustee rather than to the chief executive. As I said, the Law Society and the Public Trustee have been consulted.
The amendments to the Second-hand Dealers Act are quite sensible. At present, if someone wants to hold a garage sale, they need technically to be licensed. The amendments will allow the Commissioner for Fair Trading to exempt people selling second-hand goods from the requirement to be licensed. Exemptions will be given following consultation with the Australian Federal Police and will be for one-off events and fairs where it is impractical to draft regulations exempting the people or event. In fact, having a requirement like that is just legislation gone mad. These amendments are sensible because they do look at fairs, events, car boot sales and things like that. They will make things a lot easier for small traders. The government might need to look at this area further and inject a bit more commonsense into it.
Finally, the Trade Measurement (Administration) Act is being tidied up. The opposition will be supporting this piece of legislation. The Chief Minister has flagged several other amendments in relation to the bill which I will speak to briefly at the time, but we have no particular problems with the foreshadowed government amendments.
MS DUNDAS (11.51): The ACT Democrats will be supporting this bill, which fixes up a number of errors, oversights and ambiguities in our statute book and gives the Attorney-General and the Commissioner for Fair Trading power to better inform the public on consumer issues.
It is difficult to see why the amendment to the Second-hand Dealers Act was required, since it only covers people who carry on a business selling second-hand goods, but I have no difficulty with the provision for exemptions in the amendment bill.