Page 4027 - Week 09 - Thursday, 26 August 2010

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I would like to reiterate that, although JACS bills have always been used to make more substantive changes to the law than SLAB bills, the government is supportive of the general practice that a majority of the substantive issues pursued through a JACS bill not be controversial and that major new initiatives and major new policy be pursued through a distinct, separate bill.

I am confident that the bill I have introduced today accords with these established norms. The amendments include minor as well as more substantive, yet uncontroversial, amendments. The minor amendments ensure that legislative instruments can be updated more efficiently, and the more substantive amendments ensure that the legislation operates effectively and in a manner consistent with the government’s intention. While substantive in nature, the government is satisfied that these amendments are non-contentious.

In March and June 2008 the Council of Australian Governments agreed that the commonwealth would assume responsibility for a national system for the regulation of credit and a related cluster of additional financial services. On 7 December last year, the government signed the COAG intergovernmental national credit law agreement which underpins the national credit legislation and outlines the implementation process for the legislation.

On 26 October last year the commonwealth parliament passed the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009. This national act enacted existing territory legislation, the uniform consumer credit code, into commonwealth legislation and established a national licensing regime.

Commonwealth responsibility for consumer credit commenced on 1 July this year. Commonwealth legislation includes and extends the uniform consumer credit code that currently operates in the territory.

In line with the COAG agreement, this bill repeals relevant ACT consumer credit legislation, specifically the Credit Act 1985, the Consumer Credit Act 1995, of which the uniform consumer credit code is an instrument, and the Consumer Credit (Administration) Act 1996, all of which no longer operate since the commencement of the new commonwealth scheme.

The bill provides transitional and consequential amendments as a schedule to the Fair Trading (Consumer Affairs) Act 1973, allowing for a smooth and efficient transfer of responsibility to the commonwealth. This bill preserves several provisions until the commencement of chapter 3 of the commonwealth act, which replaces the territory provisions. Chapter 3 of the commonwealth act, which establishes new responsible lending and due diligence requirements, will not commence until 1 January 2011.

This bill preserves the due diligence obligations currently placed on credit card providers under section 28 of the Fair Trading Act until the commonwealth legislation takes over in this area on 1 January next year.

The government has taken steps to ensure that consumers continue to be protected with respect to finance broking commission charges until commonwealth legislation governing this subject commences again on 1 January next year.

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