Page 452 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 4 March 2008
check whatever the outcome. Therefore, I believe these amendments are unlikely to cause a great deal of pain in implementation.
Clause 19 amends the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act. That makes sense, and I am pleased to see that the amendment relieves the individual of the obligation to ask that the original registering authority be informed, and, indeed, ensures that it is. I hope that it will reduce the incidences of identity fraud enabled by birth certificates retaining the original name.
The ACT, being a small jurisdiction, presumably has only small numbers of identity fraud convictions. However, as this amendment indicates, these types of fraud often occur across jurisdictions. Identity fraud is a growing problem both nationally and internationally, aided by new technologies. Though the incidences of fraud committed by “individuals who have changed their name through the use of a deed poll” seem small—approximately five per cent of identity fraud court decisions in 1998-99, according to a 2003 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Australian Institute of Criminology—it is likely that these figures are climbing, and actions to subvert this increase are to be commended.
The changes to the requirement to keep a register of licensees under the Sale of Motor Vehicles Act are reasonable if, as noted in Mr Corbell’s presentation speech, the new register will be consistent with other registers kept by the office and updated regularly. In clause 35, though, there is no mention of how regularly this register must be updated. Though I trust that the employees of the office are diligent in maintaining these records, requiring the details to be notified by a certain date would help to ensure that details are up to date and correct and that they give employees a time frame in which to plan.
My other concern with this register is that it need only be available to the public at “reasonable times”. While we could assume that that will occur within business hours, who will determine what constitutes “reasonable times”? The licensee information, as currently shown on the legislation register website, is available online 24/7. Will the office be providing the same level of access, perhaps with their own website? I grant that business hours may normally be when the public would hope to access information, but considering that the details have previously been available online, I would hope that they remain so. I seek the minister’s assurance in his closing speech that that is, indeed, the case.
I note that, amongst the amendments to the Agents Act, the Commissioner for Fair Trading will have wider powers to discipline agents being investigated for a breach, thus shielding the public from further loss. While this could cause difficulty for the agents, Mr Corbell has stated that the ability for the licensee to present their case to the independent Consumer and Trader Tribunal before disciplinary action is taken, will remain.
I also note, as did the scrutiny report, that there are broader powers for inspectors to enter and inspect dealer premises under the Sale of Motor Vehicles Act. The scrutiny committee felt that this was a reasonable change, and so do I, given the consequences of purchasing and driving a car—which are not all they are claimed to be—as long as, as with most things in government, these powers are not misused.