Page 5280 - Week 14 - Thursday, 19 November 2009

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A licence application will also need to be accompanied by a police certificate, and a signed statement that the applicant has obtained the relevant planning and other approvals required to carry on a business at each premises where the applicant proposes to carry on the business under the licence.

The code contains general obligations of principals that must be complied with in respect to the provision of repairs. These obligations have largely been replicated in this bill as conditions on the licence that a licensee must comply with, with the exception of the three which provide a separate ground for occupational discipline, being compliance with fair trading, environmental, and occupational health and safety laws.

The bill replicates the existing framework under the code, which provides for a licensee’s obligations to a consumer in relation to the performance of repair work as a condition on the licence. It will be a condition for a licensee to provide estimates of the costs of repair work required and obtain authority for the repair work, as well as explaining, providing estimates and obtaining authorisation for any additional repair work.

The code also requires a principal to provide a consumer with information that would alert the consumer to the existence of the code, the general obligations of the principal, and the responsibilities the consumer has in his or her dealings with the principal. The bill replicates this obligation through a condition on the licence which requires the licensee to give an information sheet, approved by the Commissioner for Fair Trading, to a person prior to commencing repair work for the person.

Any breach of a condition on a licence by a licensee will be a ground for occupational discipline which may be dealt with by the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Section 66 of the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2008 sets out the different types of orders the tribunal may make. A breach of a condition on a licence will also be a disqualifying act, and therefore will impact on a person’s eligibility for application or renewal of a motor vehicle repair licence.

The bill provides two mechanisms to allow exemptions from the provisions of the act. Firstly, exemption of a person through regulation made by the executive and, secondly, exemption of a person by application to the minister. The minister may only make an exemption where the exemption is not likely to cause a substantial detriment to consumers.

The bill provides transitional provisions to acknowledge the registration of existing principals under the code and also provides the executive with a transitional regulation-making power to deal quickly with unanticipated issues to ensure for effective regulation of the motor vehicle repair industry.

The bill also amends the Fair Trading (Consumer Affairs) Act 1973 to ensure that part 3 of the Fair Trading (Consumer Affairs) Act applies to the motor vehicle repair industry, enhancing enforcement of the licensing scheme. Among other things, the application of part 3 will ensure that inspectors under the Fair Trading Act will be able to use their powers to investigate complaints about the motor vehicle repair industry.

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